Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
This Saturday in Brisbane the Caulfield-based Ciaron Maher will shoot for back-to-back wins in the Tattersall’s Tiara 2016 and become just the second trainer in history to do so in the winter classic.
Not since former Sydney horseman Graeme Begg with Bonanova (1999-2000) has a trainer prepared successive winners of the race now known as the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m).
Victorian Maher hopes he can be the next on the weekend however and rewrite history in the event first run in 1989.
Begg accomplished the task when the Tattersall’s Tiara was run as the Winter Stakes and held only Group 3 status, making it a tougher feat for Maher this Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
Last Queensland Winter Racing Carnival he took out the weight-for-age clash for fillies and mares with his Stradbroke Handicap winner Srikandi (2015).
He looked good to score successive editions of Queensland’s richest race this season when his Group 1 winning daughter of Shinko King Azkadellia lined-up favourite in the Stradbroke on June 11.
The four-year-old, who took out Sydney’s Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) earlier this prep, however got a torrid run and only managed to cross 10th to the Robert Smerdon-trained winner Under The Louvre.
“I was hoping to go back-to-back in the Stradbroke but we missed out so now hopefully it’s this one,” Maher told Racing Queensland.
Back against her own kind she is out to atone a fortnight later in the Tattersall’s Tiara and is well fancied to do so as the dominant $2.30 favourite and market mover at Ladbrokes.com.au for the season’s final Group 1.
Azkadellia jumps from barrier 11 of 16 and Nicholas Hall comes aboard in place of Damien Oliver.
It will be her second run at Stradbroke and her third in Brisbane as she also crossed second to Music Magnate in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) before the Stradbroke loss.
Maher watched his mare, a winner of over $1.48 million in prize money over her 16 starts so far, work well at Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning and is thrilled with her fitness ahead of her season swansong.
“She’s pulled up well. She was just in the wrong part of the track in the Stradbroke and her fitness levels are pretty good,” Maher said.
Drawn in barrier five for the Stradbroke, Maher is hoping from a wider gate on the weekend Azkadellia can get onto a better park of the track.
“We ended up on the inside in the Stradbroke and that was clearly not the place to be,” he said.
“Hopefully we can find the right path this week.
“Barriers don’t really matter as she generally gets back.
“She’s been to the beach a few times to keep her fresh and hopefully she can bounce back to form.”
Tattersall’s Tiara history is also in favour of Azkadellia overcoming her double-digit barrier with four of the past six winners jumping from barriers 12 – 16.
Barrier 11 meanwhile last produced a Tattersall’s Tiara (Winter Stakes) winner in Mon Mekki (2003).
To back Azkadellia to become the third favourite in as many years to win the Tatt’s Tiara, head to Ladbrokes.com.au today!
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