Trainer Ciaron Maher has confirmed that Mr O’Ceirin will make his Group 1 debut in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Maher included both Mr O’Ceirin and Moudre in the nominations for the star-studded Turnbull Stakes that were released yesterday but told RSN this morning that Mr O’Ceirin will be his sole representative when the final field is released tomorrow.
“Mr O’Ceirin will head to the Turnbull and Moudre is likely to go to the Bart Cummings,” Maher said.
“Moudre may be touch and go getting into the field for the Turnbull.”
Mr O’Ceirin qualified for the Caulfield Cup (2400m) with his front-running victory in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday and Maher said that the soft run topped the six-year-old nicely heading into races at a higher level during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He has come through the race really well,” Maher said.
“He just had to clean up a little bit in the coat and he has done that.
“He has really brightened well, his work was good this morning and I am really happy with him.
“This is another nice run at 2000, obviously it is a strong field, and we will really see where he sits in this race and where he sits for the rest of the spring.”
Mr O’Ceirin is unlucky not to have recorded two victories from two starts this preparation, after being narrowly defeated by Ibicenco in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on August 3, and Maher believes that the son of Postponed will be even better when he steps up in distance in the Caulfield Cup.
“The preparation could not have gone smoother; he has had two reasonably soft runs and he has had the breaks and now he is going a bit deeper,” Maher said.
“He has always shown me that he will be better at a mile and a half and perhaps even further.
“Even last preparation he can beat himself sometimes by beating a bit aggressive but in his last three runs we made a couple of gear changes and he has been really soft and came back under the riders really well.
“I think he is ready to go to the mile and a half and probably further.”
Mr O’Ceirin will face the toughest field of his career in the Turnbull Stakes this weekend; with Puissance De Lune, Fiorente, Green Moon, Super Cool and Manighar all included in the nominations.