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.

Trainer Ciaron Maher, will saddle up Bons Away in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield before beginning a six months suspension.  Photo by Daniel Costello.

Trainer Ciaron Maher, will saddle up Bons Away in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield before beginning a six months suspension. Photo by Daniel Costello.

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
11 254869x07x MAGICUS G 6 Tony Romeo 72
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
21 x41212x221 THEANSWERMYFRIEND G 4 Robert Smerdon 96
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

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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