Trainer Murray Baker is confident that tough stayer Maygrove will produce an improved effort when he contests the 2015 Harry White Classic at Caulfield tomorrow.
Maygrove made his Australian racing debut in the Listed Heatherlie Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on August 29 and he was settled right on the pace in the early stages of the race, but he dropped out when he was put under pressure to finish 11th behind Magnapal.
Baker believes that Maygrove has taken plenty of improvement since he contested the Heatherlie Stakes and he is confident that the Authorized gelding is much better suited over 2400 metres in the 2015 Harry White Classic.
“He has improved a lot,” Baker said.
“He hasn’t run for a month and he is not really a chance at 2000 metres, so we have waited for the chance to step him up to 2400.
“He is still carrying a bit of pudding and he looks a touch soft to me, but he can stay and he should run the 2400 alright if he is fit enough.
“He jumped and ran a bit first-up because he was fresh, but we will ride him back a bit tomorrow.”
Maygrove has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), but he has been allocated the limit weight of 50 kilograms in both races by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter and would need to earn a significant penalty or win a ballot-exempt race to earn a start in either race.
Baker said that he does not have any firm plans with Maygrove and he is happy to pick and choose handicap staying events for the five-year-old, who took out the Group 2 Wellington Cup (2400m) at Trentham on January 24.
“He will just be kept to the handicaps over ground,” Baker said.
“That is his go and that is where we will be aiming.”
Baker has a strong hand at Caulfield tomorrow and the leading New Zealand trainer also has Dal Cielo in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) as well as Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Maygrove is currently available at 2015 Harry White Classic odds of $21, while Gai Waterhouse-trained Excess Knowledge ($4) is a narrow favourite from market mover Shenzhou Steeds ($5.50) and imported stayer At First Sight ($9).