The weekend’s feature race favourite Big Duke...
Three-year-old filly Etana earned Ciaron Maher a double at Doomben on Saturday winning the Group 2 Magic Millions The Roses (2000m) on the way to next month’s $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks.
After claiming Group 1 glory with Kenedna in the Doomben Cup, Maher’s promising young galloper improved on his third placing on a heavy track in the Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) a fortnight ago to win by a head at the line.
Etana swooped home late on the outside racing alongside second place-getter Aliferous, while Welsh Legend ran a gallant third on the rails. The win marked Etana’s fourth from eight starts and his first at Group level, while Maher was happy his investment is finally starting to pay off.
“I got stuck with a piece of it and it was quite expensive, there’s not like winning a bit of black type with a filly, so she might be worth somewhere near what I paid for her hopefully” Maher joked after the race.
Only two Roses winners have gone on to win the Oaks – Scarlett Lady in 2011 and Ethereal in 2001.
Maher now hopes Etana can become the third after showing some strong signs of improvement throughout the prep.
“We just thought we’d give her a bit of time between runs and set her for this, we weren’t quite sure whether she’d stay but she’s a beautiful clean-winded filly and again, great job to the team. This horse was just a fraction tight at Caulfield and just wasn’t blossoming so well, we sent her up to Ballarat with that country stable and she just really strived” Maher said.
Etana has since firmed from a whopping $21.00 into $4.80 with Ladbrokes ahead of the Oaks.
Second place-getter Aliferous has moved from $12.00 into $6.00, while Welsh Legend has also firmed significantly from $21.00 into $10.00
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