Maher Marks His Man for 2014 Banjo Paterson Series Final

Ciaron Maher is gearing up for Saturday’s Flemington Finals Day in Melbourne, looking at backing up his recent stable acquisition Marksmanship in the Banjo Paterson Series Final 2014.


Marksmanship (centre, white cap) could back up from a Caulfield win in Saturday's Banjo Paterson Final at Flemington. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

The Caulfield based horseman has two nominees across the program with Akavoroun in the Listed Winter Championship Series Final (1600m) and Galileo six-year-old Marksmanship in the $120,000 Listed Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m).

The Banjo Paterson finale has attracted a total of 23 entries this year including Maher’s stallion Marksmanship who he purchased for $120,000 at the Inglis May Thoroughbred Sales.

For Maher Marksmanship has won their past two on the trot.

Those two runs were the horse’s opening two races for their new trainer having been transferred from the care of Robert Hickmott last month.

On debut for Maher they won at Cranbourne over the mile by near two lengths for their first victory since the Irish import’s win on debut when prepared by Aidan O’Brien at The Curragh back in April of 2011.

Group 3 placed in the Ballyroan Stakes (2400m) and Group 1 raced during that year in Europe, their Australian record was very poor for former owner Lloyd Williams before Maher took over their training.

After their Cranbourne victory they were then stepped up to 2000m at Caulfield and won again this time defeating Gotta Take Care in an open handicap last Saturday.

Now they are a chance to be tested in black-type company for the first time down under if Maher decides to put them on the seven day turnaround and accept for the Banjo Paterson where they would carry 54.5kg.

It’s a race their trainer believed they would be balloted out of and so now they are guaranteed a run, sitting fifth on the ballot, Maher is seriously considering the assignment.

“We’re certainly considering it looking at the fields (nominations),” Maher told Racing Victoria.

“We’ll just have a look at the acceptances and go from there.

“I was unsure of whether he’d get a run, because he hasn’t run in the series, so I thought I’d just put him in and it looks like he might get in.”

Maher is also confident the up-and-comer would handle the rise in distance despite not having raced over further than 2414m before and no further than the 2000m from last weekend since arriving in Oz.

“He can race a little keen sometimes, so up to 2600 on the back up is probably ideal,” he said.

Other notable Banjo Paterson Series Final nominees including the Chris Waller-trained top weight Permit and their stable mates Winter Cup winner Secessio (58.5kg), recent Banjo heat winner Sacred Flyer (55.5kg) and Mulaquen (55.5kg).

Three of those, excluding Sacred Flyer, were also accepted for a run in the $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on Thursday but Mulaquen and Permit have both now been scratched in favour of a Melbourne run on Saturday.

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