WINSLOW trainer Ciaron Maher and his star galloper Moudre will carry the hopes of the south-west in today’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup.
Moudre’s presence in today’s 18-horse field marks the first Caulfield Cup run by a locally bred, owned and trained stayer for more than 50 years.
Maher is excited about today’s race.
“It’s just such a special thrill to say that you’ve got a runner in the Caulfield Cup,” Maher said.
“It’s one of the icon races in Australia, along with the Melbourne Cup. Any trainer dreams of having a runner in those races.
“Win, lose or draw, we’ve had a great run with the horse and we’re aiming him at the Melbourne Cup.
“With so many international horses targetting races like the Caulfield and Melbourne cups, it’s getting more difficult for the locals to get a run. To do it with a home-bred horse is amazing, but we’re there today and we’re giving it our best shot.”
Moudre put in the worst run of his 22-start career when he failed to beat home a runner in his second run back from an 18-month break due to a tendon injury in the $500,000 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington two weeks ago.
But Maher is prepared to forget that outing and go on his previous consistent form.
“He pulled up stiff in his off-front shoulder after the Turnbull Stakes,” Maher said.
“We knew there was something wrong with him because he ran so poorly, but we sorted out the issue pretty quickly. We got the stiffness out. It might have been caused by the hard track, but that’s behind us now.
“He’s ticking over all right. I reckon we just need a bit of luck in the run to be very competitive.”
Maher was impressed after first seeing Moudre as a two-year-old on the training track at Warrnambool.
“Moudre was a real sort of hot head when he was a young horse,” he said. “He had a bit of fire in him. He still has to some extent and I think all good horses have that sort of attitude.”
Part-owner Colin McKenna said getting Moudre to the barriers was an achievement.
“It’s just incredible to think that a horse raised out at little old Woolsthorpe is taking on some of the greatest stayers in the world in the Caulfield Cup,” he said.
“Moudre has given us all a special thrill.
“We’ll be pleased to see him run in the top 10. We’ll be satisfied with an effort like that and then get him ready for the Melbourne Cup.”
Moudre is a $51 chance to win the Caulfield Cup, which will be run at 4.05pm today.