THE south-west has a Caulfield Cup runner after Mr O’Ceirin won the $150,000 Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Ciaron Maher-trained gelding, which is part-owned by Warrnambool couple Geoff and Lyn McLaren, is guaranteed a cup start after the triumph.
Maher saddled up three runners in the group 3 Naturalism — Mr O’Ceirin, Moudre and Sahara Sun.
“It’s a great thrill to win the Naturalism and it’s great to get him into the Caulfield Cup,” Maher said.
“We don’t have to worry about getting him qualified for now.
‘‘He’s in the final field for the race. It’s a great relief.
“Mr O’Ceirin deserves his chance in the Caulfield Cup. He’s a clean-winded horse.
‘‘I reckon he’ll be a big chance in the Caulfield Cup as he can be positioned anywhere in the run and he’s got a good finishing burst.”
Geoff McLaren said he was looking forward to the Caulfield Cup with confidence.
“It’s funny that Mr O’Ceirin does not get the accolades of some of the other horses but believe me, he’s a very good horse,” McLaren said.
“I’m sure he’ll be competitive in the Caulfield Cup.
“Lyn and I have been fortunate to have raced some good horses but Mr O’Ceirin would be the best by a long way.”
Champion jockey Glen Boss, who rode Mr O’Ceirin to victory in the 2000-metre race, was fined $2000 by stewards after he stood up in the irons and gave a celebratory gesture five strides before the finish post.
Moudre came from 14th at the 800-metre mark to finish sixth which pleased Maher as he looks forward to spring riches with the eight-year-old.
“It was a top run by Moudre,” the group 1-winning trainer said.
“Moudre will probably have his next start in the Bart Cummings Handicap at Flemington before going to the Geelong Cup to try and get him into the Melbourne Cup field.”
Maher’s other runner Sahara Sun ran 13th.
Meanwhile, Boss was unperturbed about Puissance De Lune’s seventh placing in the Underwood Stakes.
“I could not be happier with how Puissance De Lune is going towards the Melbourne Cup,” Boss said.
“The Underwood Stakes was a stop-start sort of race which was never going to suit us.
‘‘I thought of going forward at one stage but it was not going to help me.
“Puissance De Lune finished the race off really well from the slow tempo.
‘‘He’s right on target for the Melbourne Cup.”
Ballarat trainer Darren Weir, who has a satellite stable in Warrnambool where Mitch Freedman oversees the training of Pussance De Lune, said he was happy with the horse’s progress towards the Melbourne Cup.
Freedman took the French-born stallion to Warrnambool’s Lady Bay beach yesterday morning as part of his training regime.
“He’s pulled up a million dollars,” Freedman said.
‘‘He couldn’t win the Underwood off the slow pace.
‘‘The tempo in the race was mixed.
‘‘We’ll head to the Turnbull Stakes at this stage and then look at the Cox Plate before the Melbourne Cup.”
Puissance De Lune finished less than four lengths behind the winner It’s A Dundeel in the 1800-metre race.