CIARON Maher will use the $120,000 Bart Cummings Handicap over 2520 metres at Flemington today as a guide to which path he will take with his veteran galloper Moudre for the rest of the spring racing carnival.
Two excellent runs back from a long spell have Maher dreaming of feature races for Moudre but the former jumps jockey-turned-successful trainer is not getting carried away.
“Racing is a bit like footy — you can only take it one run at a time,” the group 1-winning trainer said.
“We’re not getting carried away but Moudre is going great.
“His first-up run in the Makybe Diva was a sensational effort which was followed up by a great run in the Naturalism Stakes.
“There was no pace in the Naturalism so we were out the back just waiting and waiting.
“He ran on really well over the concluding stages which was great.”
Maher’s dreams centre on a start in the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup on November 5, but he understands the lightly raced eight-year-old must win feature races to beat ballot clauses for the race.
“We can’t rely on luck to get him into the Melbourne Cup. We’ve got to win a good feature race on the way,” he said.
“A win in the Bart Cummings would be great. It would be a massive step in the right direction. It’s a listed race.
“We’ve got other races like the Geelong Cup and the Lexus on the radar to get into the Melbourne Cup.
“But so have all the other trainers, that’s why a win would really help his chances.”
Champion jockey Craig Williams, who rode Moudre to win the 2010 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and into second place in the 2010 Geelong Cup behind the eventual Melbourne Cup winner Americain, rides Moudre today.
“It’s great to have Craig back riding the horse,” Maher said.
“He really understands him. Craig will give us a good guide after today’s race how the horse is going.
“Moudre has got a good record at Flemington. We just want a bit of luck in the run and I reckon we’ll be in the finish.”
Maher has chosen to run Mr O’Ceirin in today’s star-studded group 1 Turnbull Stakes instead of next Saturday’s Caulfield Stakes before his run in the $2.5m Caulfield Cup on October 19.
“We just thought we would run him in the Turnbull. It’s a great field but I think we’ll run all right,” he said.
Maher will also saddle up Chloe In Paris in the $120,000 Cap D’Antibes Stakes over 1000 metres.