CIARON Maher is heading towards the Blue Diamond Stakes with confidence after the brilliant debut win by two-year-old filly Loving Gaby in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m).
“That was ultra-impressive. I couldn’t be more excited, really,” co-trainer Ciaron Maher said.
Maher declared Loving Gaby was the best filly in his stable after the win, while Magic Millions runner-up Dubious was his best colt.
Loving Gaby firmed from $15 in to $6 third favourite for the $1.5m Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 23.
Loving Gaby settled last and looked in an awkward position but Damian Lane found the rails runs before bringing her to the outside in the closing stages where she burst home to win.
‘Here comes the big filly, Loving Gaby over the top!’— Racing.com (@Racing)
Maher was going to run Loving Gaby at The Valley on Friday night but thought she needed to earn more money to gain a start in the Blue Diamond.
“We can now go straight into the Blue Diamond Stakes,” he said. “That’s why we didn’t run Friday. Even if she’d won, she’d have to run again to get into the Blue Diamond.
“She ran up to our expectations and she can now go on to the Blue Diamond with a nice gap. She was very impressive. That was always a worry if she stepped a little slow as she’s a big raw filly.
“She’s got a bright future. She put the writing on the wall in a trial the other day. You can see when got out you can see still doesn’t know how to flatten out.”
Loving Gaby grabbed her stablemate Bella Rosa who looked set for victory.
Maher was also pleased with the run of second placegetter Bella Rosa.
“She pinged out and had to make the speed. I thought when Loving Gaby ran past her she fought on hard to run second.”
Bella Rosa, who won her debut at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day will also have her next
start in the Blue Diamond Stakes. She firmed from $51 into $15 with TAB fixed odds.
Loving Gaby ($3.50 fav) defeated Bella Rosa ($6) by a half-a-length with frontrunner Lanigera ($4.80) three quarters of a length away third.
Earlier in the day, Lane and the Maher and David Eustace stable combined to win with four-year-old mare Naantali in the John Moule Handicap (1400m).
“Naantali has been threatening to do this her last couple of starts, so it’s great to get a win,” Maher said. “Damian understands her so well. I think she can get to open company. Then to stakes level but, for the moment, I’ll keep her ticking through the grades.”
Maher said he added a tongue-tie to help her breath and settle better in her races.
THE SUNDAY FIX
Mystyko finds mojo
Mystyko From back-to-back picnic victories a year ago, sprinter Mystyko could now be heading for a start in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
His breeder and owner Richard Anderson said the best could still be a year away for the sprinter, who completed a hat-trick of city wins with an impressive run-on victory in the 1100m Benchmark 78 at Caulfield.
— Racing.com (@Racing)
In January last year, Mystyko won back-to-back races at the Woolamai picnics and also failed in the Balnarring Cup. Anderson said his trainer Trevor Rogers had done a great job.
Mystiko was ridden by Chelsea Hall who has ridden him to his hat-trick.
Maskiell on a winner
Jason Maskiell was thrilled to have ridden his first city winner since he came back to riding from his ice addiction when Antah made it three from three this campaign when he won the Benchmark 84. And Maskiell suggested there’s more wins to come.
Although Antah is from Tasmania, Maskiell said he had never ridden him but had been beaten a few times by him. Antah came to Jason Warren over two years ago but was sidelined for ages with a tendon injury. Warren said he will run him in a stakes race at his next start and hoped if he kept on winning he could gain a wildcard into the All-Star Mile.
Apprentice Tahlia Hope tasted success on a horse she also regards as one of her favourites when Lamborghini came from last to win the 2000m race. It was her third city win on him from his past four starts. Hope has had her indentures transferred to Matt Cumani at Ballarat.
DID YOU SEE/HEAR
The gimmicks to gain support for the All-Star Mile are gaining momentum. If you can prove you voted for I Am A Star you can get a free beer at the Coopers Inn – Exhibition Street. Sportsbet has also got behind Tom Melbourne and is directing their clients to the voting page to vote for him.
HORSES TO FOLLOW
Halvorsen – Good effort to run on to finish second to Tin Hat.
Our Peaky Blinders – also ran on well for third behind Heptagon.
“I told you to take the blinkers off him,” Mark Zahra to Mick Price after Heptagon won.
BIG BETS AT TAB
Mclaren: $25,firstname.lastname@example.org to place
Antah: $17,000 and $10,000@$2.50
Mapmaker: $10,000@$3.80 to place
Mr Meet Taylor: $10,000@$1.80 on (Eagle Farm, r3)
Thy Kingdom Come: $3100@$4.20.
Trapeze Artist: $20,000@$4.20 on (taken earlier in the week).
Amortentia: $9000@$1.70 to place.
Prince Ziggy: $4000@$2.50.
Written By: $4000@$1.65.