CIARON Maher may set Maserartie Bay for the $300,000 Warrnambool Cup next month following his narrow victory in a $130,000 benchmark 100 at Caulfield on Saturday.
Maserartie Bay with Jye McNeil - the 2020 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey - in the saddle hung on to beat Desert Icon by a short half-head in the 2400-metre race.
Maher, who has trained the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase winner on five occasions at the Warrnambool May Carnival, said he had a burning ambition to win his old home town cup.
"The Warrnambool Cup is a race we would love to win," the Winslow training export told The Standard.
"We haven't had many runners in the cup over the years but we could have one or two this year.
"The Warrnambool Cup is a serious option for Maserartie Bay. He's won two on the trot and is in good form.
"He likes wet ground so if the weather turns ordinary in the lead up or during the carnival it could be a bonus.
"I've been very happy with his three runs in this preparation. I think there's still a bit of improvement in him.
"The Ramsden Stakes which is a qualifying race for the Melbourne Cup is another option we have up our sleeve but we'll just weigh up our options over the next few weeks before making a final decision."
Saturday's win was Maserartie Bay's seventh from 21 starts.
The five-year-old has won more than $300,000 in prizemoney for his connections.
Bella Nipotina, a stablemate of Maserartie Bay, won the $300,000 group two Sapphire Stakes at Randwick on Saturday for the powerful Maher-David Eustace training combination.
The training partnership has now yielded 328 winners from 1596 starts in the past 12 months, a winning percentage of 20.6 per cent.
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