WINSLOW trainer Ciaron Maher is using his Caulfield stables as the launching pad to unleash some expensive yearlings at the group 1 Partinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday, February 23, 2013.
Maher, who has 22 horses in work at his Caulfield stables and 20 at his Winslow operation, has entered seven yearlings for Victoria’s feature two-year-old race which is run over 1200 metres.
The former jumps jockey is aiming his comeback galloper Moudre and the lightly raced Mr O’Ceirin at some of the feature spring cup races while he also has some unraced well-bred three-year-olds in his stables. Moudre is returning from a tendon injury. He has the 2010 Queens Cup win and a second in the 2010 Geelong Cup among his credits while Mr O’Ceirin has three Australian wins in staying races since he joined Maher’s stables after beginning his career in New Zealand.
“We’ve entered seven horses in the Blue Diamond,” Maher said. “A few of them cost a bit of money. It’s the first time that we’ve had such good well-bred horses in our stable. From the seven yearlings which we’ve got in the Diamond a few of them have been bred by their breeders and the other few were purchased at either the Adelaide, Sydney or Melbourne premier yearling sales.”
“It’s a really exciting time for our stable. The stables at Caulfield have been really good for the young horses because they have switched the young horses on. The yearlings will be two years old on August 1. The entries for the Blue Diamond closed the other day — that’s why we had to enter them even though the race is not run until February next year,” he said.
The seven yearlings which Maher has entered for the Blue Diamond are by Hidden Dragon, Reaan, Lonhro, two by Street Cry and two by Exceed and Excel. Maher said the tried horses Moudre and Mr O’Ceirin were progressing well towards spring riches and a few unraced three-year-olds would run in the spring.
Megapixel may be spelled
FRONT-running Warrnambool steeplechaser Megapixel may be spelled after he ran sixth in the $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase (3400 metres) at Warrnambool on Saturday.
Megapixel finished 16 lengths behind the winner Regal Heir in the feature steeplechase.“I’m not sure whether we will line him up in next Sunday’s Crisp Steeplechase. We’ll probably enter him for the Crisp but it will be just wait and see if we run him,” trainer Symon Wilde said.
“He had no luck on Saturday. They took him on early in the race and that took its toll on him in the heavy ground. He’s had a marvellous preparation — today is the first time that he’s missed a place in this jumping preparation.”
Gallagher scores first Victorian win
IRISH born jumps jockey Paul Gallagher scored his first Victorian race win when he won on Apostle for Murray Bridge trainer John O’Connor in a high-weight maiden over 1700 metres at Warrnambool on Saturday.
Gallagher, 25, who has been based in Warrnambool for the past six weeks, has ridden a jumps winner at Murray Bridge but was delighted to have booted home a winner in his adopted home.
“I really love living in Warrnambool. It’s a great place. I came down here on the advice of Lisa Coffey from Racing Victoria. She told me they needed track-work riders down here,” Gallagher said. “I’ve been riding freelance here schooling jumpers and helping educate young horses. The people here have been really friendly and I really love it.”
Half Moon Rising runs third
RESPECTED Casterton trainer Graeme “Joey” Smith was pleased with the effort of Half Moon Rising to run third in his first steeplechase start on Saturday. Half Moon Rising had won six of his 14 hurdle starts before his third-placing in the $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase.
“I’m not really sure what I will do with him now. We might go towards the Crisp and the Grand National Steeplechase but both races will attract the top horses,” Smith said.
Weir talks about Dashdan improvement
BALLARAT trainer Darren Weir described Dashdan as a “plugger” after he won a $20,000 maiden hurdle at Warrnambool on Saturday.
Weir said Dashdan had improved from his first hurdle start when he ran sixth behind Telesmon at Casterton on June 24.
“He’s not the quickest horse in the stable. He’s just a plugger. I’ve got no big plans for the horse at this stage. We might qualify him later in the season for steeplechase races,” Weir said.
Zaman penciled in for Grand Annual
FRAN Houlahan penciled in next year’s Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase for Zaman after he scored a 13-length win in a restricted hurdle race in Adelaide on Saturday. Houlahan said she might now target Zaman for the $100,000 Jim Houlahan Hurdle at Sandown on July 29. “Zaman has done a really good job,” she said. “He shows a lot of promise. I’ve never won the Houlahan Hurdle. It would be great if we could win the race named after dad. My long-term aim with Zaman is the 2013 Grand Annual Steeplechase. I’m sure the 5500 metres of the race will suit the horse.” Zaman has won three of his six jumps starts.
Racing club happy with jumps crowd
WARRNAMBOOL Racing Club officials were happy that more than 1000 people witnessed its jumps meeting on Saturday.
Club CEO John Green said considering the meeting was only listed late in the week it was a success for the club. “It was great because so many trainers could use the meeting as a lead-in to the Crisp Steeplechase and the Grand National Hurdle next week,” Green said. Green added that another $4450 had been raised from a punters club on Saturday for the Louise Cooper appeal which took its total to just under $80,000.
Melbourne Cup Carnival tickets on sale
GENERAL admission and reserved seating tickets for this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival have gone on sale. The Victoria Racing Club will admit children under 16 to the four days of the carnival for free if they are accompanied by an adult. The announcement follows the recent launch of a $200 Flemington general admission season pass. Valued at over $560, it offers access to all Flemington race days, including the four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. The first 1500 patrons who buy a general admission or reserved seating ticket for the 2012 Cup carnival will receive a complimentary $10 TAB betting voucher to be used on-course during the carnival. General admission and reserved tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.au or calling 1300 136 122.