CIARON Maher concedes his underrated stayer Mr O’Ceirin has the odds stacked against him in the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup today.
But the Warrnambool-born trainer is hopeful of a top run in the 2400-metre race.
Mr O’Ceirin drew barrier 20 for the group 1 race but Maher remained upbeat.
“There’s nothing we can do about the barrier,” he said. “We’re starting from near the car park.
“It’s a bit rough they have given us the visitors’ draw as I’ve got stables at Caulfield.
“The only good thing is when the emergencies come out we’ll probably slot in one or two places.
“The best thing is I can’t fault the fitness of Mr O’Ceirin. He’s in great condition.
“He had a good stretch out on Wednesday and his action is perfect. Mr O’Ceirin has had an ideal preparation for the race.”
Maher said he would not load jockey Mark Zahra with too many instructions before saddling up for the race.
“Mark rode Mr O’Ceirin in the Turnbull Stakes the other day. He got a good feel of the horse,” he said.
“We may roll up outside a few horses when they ease, as they often do in Caulfield Cups.
“I’ll tell Mark to ride the horse where he feels comfortable in the run.
“I was hoping there would be a bit of give in the track but, looking at the weather, we’re not going to get much give. But we’ve got to accept that.
“I just reckon Mr O’Ceirin will relish 2400 metres. He’s a very strong stayer.”
Warrnambool couple Geoff and Lyn McLaren, who are part-owners of Mr O’Ceirin, said they were disappointed with the bad barrier but took it on the chin.
“We’ve been in racing for a long time,” Geoff said. “Racing gives you a lot of highs and lows. We would have loved a better barrier.
“But it’s not the end of the world.
“We’ve got a runner in the Caulfield Cup, which is an enormous thrill for Lyn and I and our family.”
International galloper Dandino didn’t fare much better at the barrier draw.
The Marco Botti-trained stallion, whose part-owners include Warrnambool Racing Club committee member Peter Lynch and his wife Anne, drew barrier 19.
Lynch said he had been nervous most of the week but his nerves would really kick in at 5.45pm today when the cup is run.