Ciaron Maher has big Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival plans for his progressive gelding Akavoroun who will be aimed at the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes – Toorak Handicap double.
Super consistent so far winning six of their seven starts, the rising five-year-old son of Lacryma Cristi was last seen beating home The Cleaner in the Listed Winter Championship Series Final (1600m) at Flemington on July 12.
After that run the Caulfield-based Maher said they were a definite Spring Carnival contender but at that stage he was yet to decide on a target for the up-and-coming miler.
Now he’s aiming sky high with Akavoroun heading towards two elite level runs.
The first of those is the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on September 28, a race won last year by the Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane.
Following that Maher will then step them back up to a mile for a shot at the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) back at the track on Caulfield Guineas Day, October 11.
They are ambitious aims for the lightly raced Akavoroun who is yet to be stepped up to Group company.
Maher however has a high opinion of the horse, one he hopes they live up to this season.
He will give them the chance to do that first-up when they race again at Flemington on September 13 in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m).
“Akavoroun is just having a couple of weeks freshen up at the farm,” Maher told Racing Victoria.
“He will probably kick off in the Bobbie Lewis and he might then go to the Rupert Clarke Stakes and the Toorak Handicap.”
Also Spring bound for Maher is another of his Flemington Finals Day heroes, Marksmanship.
The Galileo six-year-old posted their third win on the trot when narrowly defeating Sacred Flyer in the Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m).
A former Lloyd Williams-owned import, Marksmanship could kick off alongside Maher’s Group 1 performer Mr O’Ceirin in the $150,000 Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) at Caulfield on August 30.
From there their options included the $200,000 Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 26 or to Flemington on October 4 for the $150,000 Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) over further ground.
“Marksmanship might kick off in the Heatherlie Handicap and then he might head to the J.R.A Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley and into the Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington,” Maher said.
As for his Postponed gelding Mr O’Ceirin, the rising seven-year-old last seen finishing a disappointing ninth in the Caloundra Cup, they could defend their $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) title after winning the race last year from a wide barrier (15) with Glen Boss aboard.
“Mr O’Ceirin is back from Queensland and he’ll also have a freshen up and resume in the Heatherlie then go to the Naturalism Stakes again,” Maher said.
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