Local horseman Ciaron Maher is hoping his in-form galloper Pemberley can prove him wrong and handle the mile and a half when stepping up in distance shooting for a Caulfield Cup ballot exemption in Saturday’s Herbert Power Stakes 2016.
The $400,000 Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) is one of the key support acts on the Caulfield Guineas Day card in Melbourne on the weekend and hands the winner a ballot free ride into Saturday week’s $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Master O’Reilly (2007) was the last horse to complete the Herbert Power Stakes – Caulfield Cup double, and this year just seven gallopers are engaged for the opening leg.
In a wide-open Herbert Power Stakes betting market at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au, Maher’s runner Pemberley is paying $7 to post his third win on the trot from the inside alley on the 53kg minimum with jockey Daniel Stackhouse booked for the ride.
Stackhouse rode the Darci Brahma five-year-old for an 1815m win two back in a Benchmark 84 on 59kg at Warracknabeal two back, before Linda Meech partnered the gelding last time out for a 2050m handicap win on 58.5kg from the inside alley at Murtoa on September 24.
Pemberley drops down in weight but right up in class for his Herbert Power bid on the weekend and Maher’s only concern is how he’ll handle the mile and a half.
The horse has had just the one previous run over those metres and failed to impress when crossing 14 lengths back for 11th behind Berisha in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) back on April 2.
“His work was sharp with [Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winning stablemate] Bon Aurum and he’s always a really good worker,” Maher told Racenet this week.
“I’m not sure whether he runs a strong mile and a half, he might just be a 2000m horse, but it’s worth a shot.”
Pemberley has made up ground after settling back off the pace for his two latest wins, but Maher said he was an adaptable runner who could be ridden up closer to the speed on Saturday if needed.
“We dropped the bar with him and he’s been going well this time in. He’s in great order actually,” he said.
“He’s pretty adaptable and you can really put him anywhere. He’s a neat little horse and he’s pretty good that way.”
Pemberley is one of three gallopers among the Caulfield Cup third acceptances for Maher along with Crown Oaks winning mares Jameka and Set Square.
After her Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) win two back and the second to Hartnell in last Sunday’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), four-year-old Jameka is the $3.20 favourite in the updated all-in Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Set Square pays $26 in the futures Caulfield Cup betting markets, while Pemberley is a $51 roughie.
To back Maher’s runners this weekend and to access the best all-in markets for the Caulfield Cup, running next Saturday on October 15, make sure you head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!