Trainer Ciaron Maher has revealed that Mr O’Ceirin is no certainty to contest the 2014 Grafton Cup at the Clarence River Jockey Club on Thursday.
Mr O’Ceirin won the 2013 edition of the Grafton Cup with a brave front-running effort, but his chances of becoming the first horse since Oppressor in 1995 to win the race in back-to-back years took a hit yesterday when he was allocated barrier 17 for the Listed event.
Maher told Racing Victoria that he will analyse the complete Grafton Cup form guide this afternoon before making his final decision whether to run Mr O’Ceirin in the $150,000 event and he will not start the Postponed gelding if he does not think he is capable of winning.
“I’m just doing a bit of form on the race today and working out whether I run or not,” Maher said.
“I just want to see whether I think he can win or not.
“I was hoping for a bit of rain, but it looks like it’s a good three now and hot and windy leading into it, which is not in his favour and he’s got a wide gate and a bit of weight.
“We’ve just got to weigh all that up and make a decision.”
Mr O’Ceirin has accumulated over $100,000 in prizemoney for connections during his winter preparation, but has not been able to record a race win.
After finishing 11th in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m), Mr O’Ceirin finished a close second behind Streama in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 3 before finishing seventh in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 17.
Mr O’Ceirin finished second behind Moriarty in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) on May 31 and was fifth in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m), but failed to fire as favourite in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast (2400m) on June 28.
Mr O’Ceirin is currently available at odds of $9.50 in 2014 Grafton Cup betting markets, while Gai Waterhouse-Queenstown remains the punters elect for the Listed event at a quote of $5.50.
There has also been plenty of support for Chris Waller-trained Mulaqen ($7), Ipswich Cup winner Brave Ali ($8.50), imported stayer Permit ($9.50) and Ladbrokes Australia market mover Pretty Pins ($15).