Globetrotting hoop Craig Williams is booked to ride Ciaron Maher’s VRC Oaks winner Jameka for her first-up run in Saturday’s 2016 PB Lawrence Stakes in Melbourne.
Heading towards a Spring Cups bid this season, Myboycharlie mare Jameka is set to make her four-year-old debut in the weight-for-age $200,000 Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on the weekend.
She was sharpened-up for her return with a smart winning Cranbourne trial over 990m on a Heavy (9) track on Monday morning, giving her Caulfield-based trainer plenty of confidence heading into the Lawrence Stakes.
“I didn’t want to be too serious with her, just give her a nice working gallop and that’s what it was,” Maher told Racenet after the trial won in 1:01.28 over Iconic.
“She jumped and travelled well and then let down nicely late and opened up a little.
“It’s always good to get on a nice surface and she’s enjoyed the trip away from home.”
Maher also ran his 2014 Crown Oaks winner Set Square in Monday morning’s hit-out, the now five-year-old daughter of Reset running fourth to her stablemate, and nominated for the PB Lawrence Stakes.
Jameka was last seen running in four straight Group 1 autumn races including her third to Tarzino in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in March and second in the ATC Derby (2400m) in April.
Her latest run produced a close fourth when defeated only a length by visiting New Zealand filly Sofia Rosa in Randwick’s Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) a week after her Derby bid against the boys.
She has won only three of her 14 starts to date but is a winner of over $1.5 million in prize money thanks primarily to her victory in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
This season Maher has even bigger races in sight for his promising stayer who he has in the mix for the $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 10 as well as the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“Her main aims are later in the spring but she’s certainly ready to go Saturday and it will tell us a lot about where we head with her,” Maher added.
Futures Caulfield Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au have Jameka rated a $21 shot with all-in markets led by Tarzino ($15), while she is at noticeably longer $41 in early Melbourne Cup odds for the two mile classic.
Set Square meanwhile hasn’t raced since her fifth to French galloper Gailo Chop in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) last Victoria Derby Day.
She also pleased her trainer with Monday’s trial performance and is tracking towards an October 2 run in the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington over the AFL Grand Final long weekend in Melbourne.
“She’s had a long time off and still has a way to go but I’m very pleased with her recovery,” Maher said of Set Square.
“She’s coming up really well, starting to come in the coat and I’m happy with the way she is coming up.”
Last spring she ran third to Preferment in the Turnbull Stakes before a disappointing 16th in the Caulfield Cup, a mile and a half classic she is at a current quote of $26 to win this year.
“She was very good in the Turnbull last year and everything about the race suits, then we’ll go into the Caulfield Cup – but without the blinkers,” Maher said.
“Last year she just over-raced in them but she’s a bit stronger and a bit more relaxed so they will be her main races in the spring.”
Back Maher’s Caulfield Cup 2016 bound mares this season at the hottest odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au!