Numbers favour a Maher and Eustace victory

Numbers favour a Maher and Eustace victory

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have numbers on their side in pursuit of a maiden win in the Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield.

Maher and Eustace saddle six runners in Saturday’s $1.5 million race over 1200m, three colts – Ideas Man, Rathlin and Tanker – and three fillies – Away Game, A Beautiful Night and Muntaseera.

The numbers match Lindsay Park in 2017 when that stable was successful with Catchy.

Lindsay Park also had third and fourth placegetters Formality and Tulip along with Muraahib (sixth), Wait For No One (seventh) and Will’s Bid (13th).

Eustace said it had been a huge effort from the team to have six runners in Saturday’s race.

The plan started two years ago when Maher made the decision to increase the stable’s profile.

Eustace said the stable started the season with between 100 and 120 two-year-olds on its books leading to around 20 juvenile winners of the 156 wins the stable has had this season.

“We’re very proud of everyone being able to do that, obviously led by Ciaron who has gone out there sticking his neck on the line and buying them,” Eustace said.

“In the last three sales seasons, this one included, he really wanted to focus on buying two-year-old types.

“That was led by Dubious going so close in the Magic Millions and then this year it’s gone up a notch.

“They’ve stayed sound through the help of the staff which is the hardest thing with two-year-olds keeping them happy and fresh in the mind.”

Away Game has led the Maher/Eustace assault, winning the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast last month before claiming the Widden Stakes at Randwick on February 1.

Eustace says he is not a punter, but if he was he would be betting on Muntaseera being the stable’s best chance.

“Obviously Away Game is dear to our hearts and has done everything right, but Muntaseera was a little unlucky in the Preview and has definitely improved,” Eustace said.

“But she needs to jump and travel kindly. She has the tendency to miss it a fraction and then needs to be ridden up to get her in the race, which switches her on.

“If it’s smooth and she gets a smooth run, I think she’s got a great chance.”

Rathlin is the most favoured of the stable’s colts.

Eustace said Rathlin was possibly the forgotten horse as he was gaining on the leaders when third in the Blue Diamond Prelude on February 8, his first run since finishing sixth in the Magic Millions.

“There’s probably not a lot between him, Away Game and Muntaseera,” Eustace said.

A Beautiful Night has the most favourable draw of the six, the only one below 10 in barrier two.

“She has the draw that suits her most,” Eustace said.

Credit: AAP