Trainer Ciaron Maher believes that Mr O’Ceirin will face his toughest test in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday but said that he could not be happier with the tough gelding.
Mr O’Ceirin has already had a lengthy campaign, resuming with a sixth place finish behind Strawberry Boy in May, but has performed well in his of his last four starts; winning the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) and Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) as well as producing strong runs in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) and the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Maher told RSN that he has been very happy with the Postponed gelding’s preparation and was particularly impressed with his run in the Turnbull Stakes – despite finishing in the second half of the field.
“He has had a nice smooth preparation and out to a mile and a half now should be ideal,” Maher said.
“I am very happy with the horse, obviously it is his toughest task, but last Saturday gave me a bit of confidence.
“Three of the first four placegetters came from the back of the field so obviously they went too quick and the tempo was too hot.
“I thought he stuck it out really well and to be beaten the margin he was I thought he did a great job.”
The weather in Melbourne is expected to be flawless in the lead-up to the Caulfield Cup this weekend but Maher is holding out hope that there might be some rain on the horizon.
Mr O’Ceirin has recorded four wins from six starts on rain-affected tracks and Maher believes that the chances of the six-year-old will improve significantly with the sting taken out of the track.
“Obviously he is better suited when there is a bit of juice on the track so hopefully he gets a bit on Thursday,” Maher said.
“The more rain that we can get the better his chances will be.”
Dwayne Dunn, who won the 2006 edition of the Caulfield Cup on Tawqeet, will ride Mr O’Ceirin for the first time on Saturday but Maher does believe Dunn’s lack of experience on the Naturalism Stakes winner will be a problem.
“He is a fairly straight forward horse to ride, you just let him bowl along and be comfortable,” Maher said.
History is against Mr O’Ceirin on Saturday as no horse has ever completed the Naturalism Stakes/Caulfield Cup double.