Caulfield Cup winning trainer Ciaron Maher will be able to saddle up Bons Away in the Group 1 $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Sunday before beginning a six month suspension.
Maher pleaded guilty to a charge of conduct prejudicial to the image, or interest, or welfare of racing after it became known that convicted conman Peter Foster was the owner of several horses in the Caulfield trainer’s stables.
Maher will begin his six month suspension on Monday October 2 and was also fined the sum of $75,000 by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board .
The inquiry heard that Maher’s former racing manager Ben Connolly had his name as the listed owner of Foster’s horses Little Bubulu, Loveable Rogue, Hart, Mr Simples and the Group 1 winning mare Azkadellia who won the Group 1 $1m Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick during the 2016 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Maher admitted that he should have been more vigilant in checking the ownership of those horses and apologised for the mistake at the hearing and released the followinng statement on his website.
“Having plead guilty to Section 175A, today the RAD board have suspended me for six months and fined me $75,000. The suspension starts on the 2nd October and I have decided to accept the board’s decision.
“While I am disappointed to find myself in this situation, I am relieved a decision has finally been made. I would like to thank the RAD board for their consideration of my case.
“The past 12 months have certainly taken a toll on my health; however, I have an incredibly supportive and talented team at Ciaron Maher Racing who will be able to ensure the smooth running of the operation in the interim.
“I would like to thank the team at Ciaron Maher Racing, my loyal owners and all those close to me for their ongoing support and trust.
“I will keep you fully informed with the next steps.
Maher has risen to prominence in the Melbourne training ranks with several Group 1 wins over the last few years which include victories by Srikandi in the 2015 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben and Jameka in the 2016 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on his home track.
Maher will be looking to get another Group 1 trophy in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes with Bons Away who has quickly risen up through the ranks with wins at his last four starts, his latest beating The Everest bound Brave Smash in the Listed $120,000 Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
“He’s shown no signs of dropping off, he loves being in work and he’s a very straight-forward horse to train,” Maher said.
“He’s clearly still improving, so unless he pulls up sore, there’s no reason to stop now.”
Bons Away is one of twenty-four horses nominated for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes with the size of the field to be reduced to sixteen runners on Sunday.
Also among the nominations are the Group 1 winners It’s Somewhat and Lucky Hussler as well as Caulfield Guineas favourite Royal Symphony.
Nominations for the 2017 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m)
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||x5240x48x5||ATTENTION||H||4||Peter & Paul Snowden||90|
|2||157×321111||BONS AWAY||G||4||Ciaron Maher||98|
|3||x151611125||CANNYESCENT||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||96|
|4||9x60229x42||CHARMED HARMONY||G||8||John Sadler||101|
|5||7x2504x527||EL DIVINO||H||4||Darren Weir||91|
|6||7121175×31||GRANDE ROSSO||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||103|
|7||x073397x00||GREAT ESTEEM||G||7||Stuart Webb||94|
|8||4313x1119x||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||G||7||James Cummings||114|
|9||29x3380x53||LAND OF PLENTY||H||4||Grahame Begg||80|
|10||x791x705x6||LUCKY HUSSLER||G||8||Darren Weir||111|
|12||2413311×12||MR SNEAKY||G||4||Anthony Freedman||90|
|13||111×1||ROYAL SYMPHONY||C||3||Tony McEvoy||85|
|14||24x1401x56||ROYAL TUDOR||G||5||Rodney Ollerton||90|
|15||7x49155x34||SANTA ANA LANE||G||5||Anthony Freedman||96|
|16||x6321220x0||SAVILE ROW (NZ)||H||4||Michael Moroney||98|
|17||1112x211x2||SCALES OF JUSTICE||G||5||Lindsey Smith||110|
|18||114173×546||SNITZSON||H||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||94|
|19||x4030x2283||SO SI BON||H||4||Robbie Laing||95|
|20||23276×1531||SOVEREIGN NATION||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||97|
|22||09x4x22x53||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||H||7||Darren Weir||109|
|23||210x257x14||VOODOO LAD||G||6||Darren Weir||108|
|24||353510×682||WYNDSPELLE (NZ)||H||4||Michael Kent||84|