After enjoying a feature Finals Day double at Flemington on Saturday, Victorian horseman Ciaron Maher is weighing up Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival targets for his 2014 Winter Championship Series Final winner Akavoroun.
Having already won the Banjo Paterson Series Final with Bendigo Cup-bound import Marksmanship, Maher was back in the winners’ stall for race six on Saturday with his progressive gelding Akavoroun winning the $150,000 Listed VRC-CRV Sinter Championship Series Final (1600m).
Bred by Maher and his father using the same bloodlines as his maiden Group 1 winner Tears I Cry, Akavoroun is a rising five-year-old son of Iris shire Lacryma Cristi.
They’ve been progressing well as a late starter after kicking off with back-to-back wins during May last year when they debuted at the end of their three-year-old season.
Having suffered just the one loss in a total of seven starts now, they broke their black-type maiden on the weekend when stepped up to stakes’ company for the first time in the Winter Championship Final.
Coming off a win in Heat 6 of the series a fortnight earlier, Akavoroun ($6) was ridden to perfection by Michelle Payne and had three quarters of a length to spare over the Mick Burles-trained runner-up The Cleaner ($9) – the Tassie raider carrying the 60kg top weight for a brave second.
In third a further length away was then Shawn Mathricks’ Commands mare Gig ($18) coming off an eighth behind Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) from June 21, before the $3.90 favourite Henwood rounded out the First Four three lengths off the winner.
Henwood had front running early in the Winter Championship Final with Akavoroun settled just worse than midfield before the eventual winner made up lots of late ground in a brilliant finish that impressed Payne.
“He was terrific today,” she said.
“I straightened up and had a lot of horse underneath me but I thought he’s going to have to be pretty good to win today and he was.
“It’s just been such a great ride that this horse has given us.
“I work a lot with Ciaron Maher and his stable and it’s so nice to have a day like this and reap the rewards.”
While yet to decide exactly what races they will target over the coming months, Maher is confident they’ll find a nice race or two for Akavoroun during this year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“I haven’t even thought about it yet but we’ll find some good races for him,” Maher said.
“It’s a huge thrill. I’ve always had a lot time and faith in this horse and his last two runs have probably been his best.
“Obviously we’re already on the doorstep of Spring so we’ll just give him a freshen and then map out a plan from there.”
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2014 VRC Winter Championship Series Final Results
Flemington Race 6 – 12/07/2014
|1||4||AKAVOROUN||Ciaron Maher||Ms Michelle Payne||–||7||55.5kg||$6|
|2||1||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles||Anthony Darmanin||0.75L||12||60kg||$9|
|3||10||GIG||Shawn Mathrick||Ms Katelyn Mallyon (a)||1.75L||1||54kg||$18|
|4||6||HENWOOD (NZ)||John Sadler||Glen Boss||3L||9||55kg||$3.90F|
|5||12||RINGO (NZ)||Mike Breslin||Dwayne Dunn||3.1L||4||54kg||$5.50|
|6||8||LORD DURANTE||Simone Ferchie||Chris Symons||3.6L||14||54.5kg||$51|
|7||2||DANY THE FOX (NZ)||Mick Price||Dean Yendall||4.1L||2||59kg||$20|
|8||5||TRIED AND TIRED||Leon Corstens||Nicholas Hall||4.3L||3||55.5kg||$11|
|9||9||FAST AND FREE||Mick Price||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||5.3L||6||54kg||$9|
|10||7||EXIMIUS||Mick Price||Daniel Moor||8.05L||13||54.5kg||$11|
|11||13||POST D’FRANCE (NZ)||Stephen Brown||Damian Lane||8.15L||15||54kg||$41|
|12||15||MURCIELAGA||Michael Moroney||Jake Noonan||8.9L||11||54kg||$41|
|13||14||SOROS||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||10.4L||8||54kg (cd 54.5kg)||$31|
|14||11||SAID COM (NZ)||Chris Waller||James Winks||13.15L||5||54kg||$26|
|15||16||FORCE COMMAND||Greg Eurell||Craig Newitt||13.65L||10||54kg||$71|
|–||19e||DURNFORD||Shea Eden||Ibrahim Gundogdu||–||0||–||–|
|–||20e||EIGELSTEIN (GB)||Chris Waller||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||18e||BLACKIE (NZ)||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||–||0||–||–|
|–||3||LORD OF BRAZIL (NZ)||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||–||0||–||–|
|–||17e||CONSTANT FORCE||Bill & Symon Wilde||–||–||0||–||–|