CIARON Maher watched on with delight from Eagle Farm races while his stable had three winners at Sandown on Saturday.
Maher had three runners at Eagle Farm including Promises Kept, who was unplaced in the $1 million Group One Queensland Derby.
But the Sandown wins by Axzelina, Cardigan Queen and Normandy Bridge gave the master trainer plenty of reasons to celebrate his 42nd birthday on Saturday.
"There's no big birthday celebrations," Maher told The Standard. "It's finished up a good day for the stable. Full credit to our staff at our different training locations. I would have loved to see Promises Kept run better in the Queensland Derby but Kovalica was just too good for us.
"Kovalica looks a top horse in the making. He should be a serious contender in the Melbourne staying races over the spring."
Maher, who trains in partnership with David Eustace was impressed with the win by Axzelina at her first start.
"I thought it was a very strong win by the filly," he said. "Axzelina went to the line strongly. I was worried at a couple of stages but she hit the line hard. She'll derive a lot out of that run.
"We'll see how she pulls up before making plans about future runs for the filly."
Cardigan Queen put the writing on the wall for a good run after running second in a restricted race at the Warrnambool May Carnival earlier this month.
"Cardigan Queen had no luck at Warrnambool," Maher said. "She was up in class at Sandown but had improved with the first-up run at Warrnambool under her belt. There's a few nice races for Cardigan Queen coming up over the next few weeks.
"Normandy Bridge showed with his last start second placing at Sandown, he wasn't far away from a win."
Underrated jockey Harry Coffey rode Cardigan Queen and Normandy Bridge while Axzelina was ridden by Linda Meech.
Saturday's treble gave Maher-Eustace 81 metropolitan winners for the season. With two months left in the season they look like breaking last year's record they set of 104 Melbourne winners.
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