CIARON Maher’s emerging stayer Marksmanship and his warhorse galloper Mr O’Ceirin kick off their spring campaigns in the listed $120,000 Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Stakes at Caulfield today.
Marksmanship, formerly owned by leviathan racing identity Lloyd Williams, has won all his three starts for Maher since he joined his training establishment in June after being purchased for $120,000 by stable clients.
Maher said Marksmanship had a brief break following his impressive victory in the $120,000 Banjo Paterson Handicap at Flemington on July 12.
“We just gave him a bit of a freshen up,” he said. “We gave him a jump-out at Caulfield last Tuesday and he went really well. He’s in very good nick.
“Marksmanship was rated a 77 class horse when we got him. I originally thought we could get him up to a 90 rating and we might be able to win a group 3 race but he’s being going better than we originally thought.”
The seven-year-old’s only victory before joining the Maher stable was at The Curragh over 2000 metres in April 2011. From his five starts under the Williams’ ownership, Marksmanship best effort was a second placing at Sandown.
Maher registered wins with Marksmanship at Cranbourne and Caulfield before the Flemington victory but he admitted the horse had some minor issues when he joined the stable.
“There was nothing major wrong with him. We knew he had a tendon issue as a young horse but there’s nothing to worry about now,” he said.
“Marksmanship is a magnificent looking individual. The 1700 metres today will be a bit short for him. I think his best efforts will be in races over more ground.”
Mr O’Ceirin ran second in this race last year before winning the Naturalism Stakes and then was unplaced in the Caulfield Cup. Maher said the seven-year-old was in good order.
“He ran second in the Eagle Farm Cup and fifth in the Brisbane Cup over the winter. I reckon Mr O’Ceirin really enjoyed the sun when he was up north,” he said.
Maher’s other runner at Caulfield is the last-start Bendigo winner Top Sight. The three-year-old filly runs in an $80,000 race over 1400 metres.
Brilliant Woolsthorpe-bred mare Gregers contests the group 3 Sprint Series Heat 1 Stakes today.
Darren Weir’s Warrnambool satellie stable may play a significant role at Caulfield. Prince Of Penzance and Signoff line up in a $80,000 handicap over 1400 metres while Puissance De Lune will be trying for group 1 success in the $400,000 Memsie Stakes.