Caulfield Cup winning trainer Ciaron Maher is hoping to kick off his new training partnership with David Eustace with a win by Smokin’ Bella at Sale on Wednesday.
Maher and Eustace will join forces when the new 2018 – 2019 racing season starts on Wednesday, August 1 and Smokin’ Bella, a $5.50 chance in the BenchMark 70 Handicap (1422m), will be their first runner under the new banner.
Michael Walker will ride Smokin’ Bella who has drawn barrier six in the twelve horse field and the mare who turns six years old on race morning, is coming off a last start third in a 1206m BenchMark 70 Handicap at Sale on July 12.
Eustace has been Maher’s number one man for quite a while and the Englishman also learned a lot of the Australian way of training with stints with Peter Snowden and Peter Moody.
Eustace was also an important part of running the stable under stand in trainer Aaron Purcel when Maher was on the sidelines for six months because of a suspension which was a result of an ownership irregularity.
“David has been instrumental in the growth and success of the stable over the past 12 months,” Maher told racing.com.
“During my period of suspension under Aaron Purcell, David ensured the seamless running of the yard. He has proven himself as a hard-working professional, learning the Ciaron Maher Racing way but also bringing new ideas to the fore. I am delighted to have David join me on the ticket.”
Maher and Eustace will now join forces in trying to get Group 1 winning mare Jameka back to the race track for the 2018 Spring Carnival and possibly attempt to win a second Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 after claiming the winning trophy in emphatic style in 2016.
Jameka has recovered from a life threatening bout of travel sickness that she picked up after her win in the 2017 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill and has completed one jump out on her comeback trial and Maher and Eustace will give the rising six year old mare two more barrier trials before mapping out a Spring Carnival program.
“The deciding trial will be the next one over a bit of ground on a good surface at Cranbourne and we can really open her up to see if she’s got the fire in the belly,” Maher said.
Jameka has proven herself to be one of the finest staying mares in the country with three Group 1 wins to her credit which include the 2015 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington, the 2016 $3m Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield and The BMW.