Ciaron Maher has both Jameka and Bon Aurum in the 2016 Australian Guineas field and the leading trainer is happy with his two chances ahead of the Group 1 event at Flemington tomorrow.
Jameka finished her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival with impressive wins in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on October 24 and the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on November 5, but he was slightly dour when she returned to the races with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m) at Flemington on February 20.
Maher expects Jameka to produce an improved performance when she steps-up to a mile for the Australian Guineas and he believes she is a genuine winning chance if there is enough speed in the early stages of the race.
“She has had a pretty smooth campaign,” Maher said.
“She will probably have to go back from a wide gate, but it looks like there is a fair bit of speed and she can hopefully get home late.
“Damien said when he got off that she is just a little bit more dour than she was last time after her spring campaign and where she is drawn is probably ideal.
“When she gets up over a trip she can stride forward.
“They would have to go pretty quick for her to win, but you can never say never because she has mixed it with the colts before.”
Bon Aurum started his autumn campaign with an unlucky ninth in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 6, but he produced an improved performance when sixth in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 20.
The Bon Hoffa colt showed that he was capable of mixing with the best three-year-olds when he won both the Listed Exford Plate (1400m) and Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) during the spring and Maher is hopeful that he can produce a competitive effort in the Australian Guineas.
“He has had a couple of strong gallops and I think that he is pretty right to go,” Maher said.
“He is always underrated this horse, he is a strong, tough horse.
“He is also drawn out wide and he can sit wide as he has shown before, but he definitely needs cover.
“Hopefully he is midfield and he can come with a run.”
Jameka is currently available at 2016 Australian Guineas odds of $17 with Ladbrokes, while Bon Aurum has remained steady at $41.