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Ciaron Maher has October’s Cranbourne Cup 2014 in his sights with imported stallion Marksmanshipafter their breakthrough win down under at the track on the weekend.
Maher, who has enjoyed a stellar season headlined by the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap third in Brisbane by his smart filly Srikandi, enjoyed another win on Sunday this one by Galileo six-year-old Marksmanship.
The Irish import, Group 1 performed over 2400m in France when under the care of Aiden O’Brien back in 2011, started their career in Australia with Robert Hickmott for Macedon Lodge owner Lloyd Williams.
The Caulfield-based Maher then took over their preparation just this autumn picking them up from last month’s Inglis tried horses’ sale for $120,000.
“I was only interested in one horse at that sale,” Maher told Racing Victoria.
“I was pretty keen to get him because I thought he had a bit of upside and was at a rating where the owners can hopefully, if it all goes well, enjoy a good ride and get a few wins up.”
Marksmanship was then having their first start for their new trainer at Cranbourne over the weekend in a Benchmark 78, the $175,000 tab.com.au Handicap (1600m).
Ridden by Melbourne Cup winning hoop Michael Rodd they got away from the gates well, relaxed nicely and then when the button was hit they extended nicely to hit the straight.
On the line Marksmanship had one and three quarter lengths to spare from Nordic Duke with Popeye Braggins a distant third.
“He was very fit when he came to the stable and I didn’t have to do a lot with him,” Maher said on Sunday.
“I’d been soft on him, which is why I dropped him back to the mile and he got the favours today with Michael giving him a very good run.”
While the mile showdown was far from a showstopper, it was a notable effort from the winner who has now broken their Aussie maiden status and can be aimed at bigger and better things.
Maher is thinking of a return to the track on October 12 for the $200,000 Listed Cranbourne Cup (2020m) after the galloper showed a liking for the course.
“That was a good start,” he said of Sunday’s win.
“We’ll just tick along through the grades and see where that leads us.
“Who knows, he might go back to Cranbourne for the Cup.”
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