TOP jumps trainer Ciaron Maher has eight jumpers in work as he gears up for what he hopes to be a successful season.
Maher, who has won most of the feature jumps races on the calendar during his training career, will have another wave of horses ready for jumps races later in the year.
"I've got eight jumping horses in work now," he said.
"The horses will be aimed at the early jumps races including Oakbank at Easter and the Warrnambool May carnival. I've got a second lot of horses which will be set for the jumps races later in the season. I've got a good blend of jumpers to be aimed at the jumping races."
The former jumps jockey predicts it will be hard to win jumps races this season.
" There are so many more owners and trainers showing an interest in the sport following on from last season's successful year," he said. "I think you will see some handy flat horses running in jumps races this year which all goes well for an excellent season for the sport."
WARRNAMBOOL trainer Matthew Williams will train two yearlings purchased by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB) boss Darren Dance at the Magic Million Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast last week
Williams saddled up unplaced Ticket To Toorak for ATB and other owners in last Saturday's $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic.
Dance paid $170,000 for a colt by Commands and $140,000 for a Northern Meteor colt. Williams said they were both ready-to-run youngsters.
"Both colts are impressive types," Williams said.
"Our aim is to get them ready for next year's $2 million classic. The Commands colt is a strong type of horse while the Northern Meteor colt has speed bred on both sides of his pedigree .
"Darren still has a couple of shares left in both colts. He hopes to have the majority of shares in both colts sold within the next week or two."
RESPECTED Camperdown trainer Geoff Daffy has played down the impressive win of promising galloper Me Hungi in a restricted race over 1600 metres at Ballarat last Thursday.
Me Hungi won the $17,000 race by more than three lengths.
"We've got no big plans with Me Hungi," Daffy said.
"He's won two of his four starts. We'll just take him through his classes.
"We're not getting carried away with how the horse is going. He's still learning how to race. We'll just take him along slowly without any big fanfares."
The lightly raced four-year-old has won more than $24,000 in stakemoney for his connections.
COLAC trainer Bill Cerchi is hopeful his underrated galloper Diamonds At Noon will give him his third Camperdown Cup success this Saturday.
Magic Ben and Diamonds At Dawn are Cerchi's previous winners in the $20,000 cup and he believes Diamonds At Noon can add to that tally.
"Diamonds At Noon is feeling really good," Cerchi said.
" We gave him a brief freshen up and he's come back into work really strong .
"I'm not worried he's having his first-up run over 1600 metres. He's won first up before over that distance. I reckon he will be competitive in the race. It would be great if we could win the cup again."
Apart from Diamonds At Noon, Cerchi is hopeful of having another four runners at the once-a-year race meeting. His other runners are possibly Mr Chuckle, Wilshire Flyer and the maiden performers Dapper Dan and Cheaper For Cash.
PATIENCE was the key to Hamilton-trained galloper East To West winning a 1700-metre maiden at Penola last Thursday, according to his trainer Ron Daniel.
East To West was having only his second race start when he came from well back in the field to win going away from his rivals.
"It was a good win," Daniel said.
"He's always shown a bit of promise. He's a staying type of horse. We've just given him time to mature and fill out.
"I think he'll be a better horse once he gets into races over more ground. We might take him to Camperdown this Saturday for a race over 2200 metres for his next start."
Meanwhile, Daniel said Baby Boy may target a distance race at Morphettville on Saturday after his failure in a 2400-metre race at Sandown.
Baby Boy has won two of his past three outings both at Morphettville.
"Things just didn't got right for us at Sandown," Daniel said.
"I've always had a good rap on Baby Boy. He does not like wet tracks, that's why he failed in the VRC St Leger in April last year .
"I reckon this horse will win a good distance race at some stage of his career. He just loves long distance races. He can stay all day."