CELEBRATIONS for Ciaron Maher's belated 40th birthday party started early on Saturday after the Winslow-raised trainer had two winners, including the $300,000 Pakenham Cup.
Smokin' Romans won the cup with top jockey Jamie Kah aboard. Marine One, a stablemate of Smokin' Romans, won a $130,000 three-year-old race at Pakenham.
No metropolitan Melbourne meeting was staged on Saturday and the Pakenham race day carried city status as the major race meeting in Victoria.
Maher, who trains in partnership with David Eustace, celebrated his 40th birthday party with family and friends at Caulfield racecourse on Saturday night.
Maher said Smokin' Romans had been in work for a long time and thrived on racing.
"Smokin' Romans has been in work for more than a year," Maher told The Standard.
"His win is a credit to our hard-working staff. All our staff do remarkable jobs.
"Smokin' Romans just thrives on racing. He's just an honest performer who appears to be getting better with each start.
"I'm not sure which path we'll go down with him in the future but on today's performance we're going to have to lift the bar again."
Maher praised Kah's ride on Smokin' Romans. "It's wonderful to give Jamie another listed winner. She's a top jockey and does a lot of work for our stable," he said.
Marine One, with apprentice jockey Josh Richards in the saddle, notched up his third victory from eight starts in a 1000-metre contest.
"Marine One is still learning about racing," Maher said.
"I think once he puts it all together he's going to be a handy horse. We've always had a good opinion of him.
"There's plenty of upside to him and with time he's going to improve even more."
The lightly raced three-year-old colt took his stake earnings to more than $180,000 with the victory.
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