Ciaron Maher-trained Mr O’Ceirin has the opportunity to guarantee himself a start in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when he contests the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Naturalism Stakes offers ballot-free entry into the Caulfield Cup for the winner, which Mr O’Ceirin just missed out on last year when he finished second behind Folding Gear who went on to run well in the Caulfield Cup.
Mr O’Ceirin has been good form this campaign, scoring a gutsy victory in the Grafton Cup (2350m) in July before finishing second behind Ibicenco in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield three weeks ago, and according to Maher is well place to record his tenth career victory on Saturday, especially with the Caulfield track expected to be affected by rain.
“He looks well placed in this race,” Maher told TVN.
“Obviously the weather plays a key, the rain is great for him, he loves some cut in the track.
“He has trained on really well since his first-up run and the 2000 metres on Saturday is probably his ideal trip.”
Mr O’Ceirin will be joined in the Naturalism Stakes field by veteran gelding and stablemate Moudre who started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an impressive third place finish behind Foreteller and Puissance De Lune in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 7.
Moudre performed well in the Makybe Diva Stakes last campaign before failing to fire in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), Caulfield Cup and Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) but Maher is hopeful that the son of Blevic can perform well this weekend.
“I was tickled pink with the way he went, hitting the line well and he’s come through the race well,” Maher said.
“He’s pretty clean-winded so I haven’t had to do a lot with him.
“Obviously he’s come back well and the extra trip won’t hurt him on Saturday.”
Maher has also nominated Sahara Sun for the Naturalism Stakes but he is currently sitting 19th in the order of entry and may miss out on earning a start.