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Maher and Eustace training Partnership Ends

The Maher and Eustace training partnership is chasing more big race glory before their amicable split. 

Caulfield Racecourse photo: Greg SwordCaulfield Racecourse photo: Greg Sword

The top Australian training duo Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are eyeing more big race victories before their successful partnership finishes at the end of January 2024.

Ciaron Maher, a seasoned trainer with a wealth of experience, joined forces with David Eustace, a former assistant to leading British trainer Charlie Appleby. Their collaboration brought together Maher's understanding of the Australian racing landscape and Eustace's global perspective on the sport.

The pair have been the scourge of bookmakers in recent years, firing home a seemingly endless succession of winners across the southern hemisphere.

Their success is largely due to a combination of traditional techniques and innovative approaches, always seeking to bring out the best in their horses. Maher and Eustace are known for their meticulous preparation, attention to detail, and ability to develop young talent.

One of their notable achievements was the success of Jameka, who secured the Caulfield Cup in 2016 under Maher's solo tutelage.

Together, Maher and Eustace have expanded their operations, attracting a high-calibre string of horses under their care. They've become a force to be reckoned with in major racing events, consistently producing top-tier performances.

The Maher and Eustace training partnership Ends Amicably

However, Eustace’s recent decision to go it alone by joining the training ranks in Hong Kong signalled the end of their hugely lucrative time together.

Eustace recently visited Hong Kong to lay the foundations for his move, before travelling back to Australia to fulfil his commitments with the Maher operation.

“The Hong Kong Jockey Club has been extremely helpful and efficient – it’s great to be here, for it to be official and the hard work starts now over the next few months,” Eustace said.

Happy Valley Racecourse, Hong KongHappy Valley Racecourse, Hong Kong

“I’m looking to get an understanding of the rules, the set-up, the races and most importantly try to build a stable. I’m looking forward to the challenge and pressure of building a team myself.

“It was not an easy decision. I had a great five and a half years in partnership and eight years working for him (Maher), but I felt that it was time to take on the challenge and I’m really looking forward to that.

“I will head to Magic Millions for the stable and I will finish up with Ciaron at the end of January. I’ll look to move full time in April and my understanding is that I can train a horse from June 1 and then start having runners at the start of the 2024/25 season in September.”

Maher and Eustace have an excellent chance of enjoying more success together before the end of the month, starting with the Magic Millions meeting in Queensland this weekend.

The pair have one of the hottest horse tips in Australia lined up to take part in the Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic in the form of Spywire.

The colt dusted off the cobwebs with an effortless victory in his warm-up run last Saturday and is among the favourites to follow up despite being drawn in stall 12 this weekend.

“I would’ve liked a little bit closer in, but it is what it is,” Maher said. “The main thing is, he obviously ran on Saturday, it’s about how he comes through the race and so far, from what I can see, he hasn’t missed an oat - he seems as bright as a button.”

“He was a little bit fresh on Saturday, that’s why we ran him, and it should hopefully hold him in good stead or better for just taking that edge off him.”

Regardless of the outcome of Spywire’s bid to win this weekend, Maher and Eustace will have further chances to add to their winners’ tally before the end of January.

One of their best chances could be with Holymanz, who is on track to race in a lucrative contest for four-year-olds at the Karaka Million meeting in New Zealand later this month.

Holymanz bounced back from a defeat at Cranbourne last November by recording a cosy victory in the $300,000 Coastal Classic at Geelong last weekend.

Winning in New Zealand would secure a place in the All-Star Mile at Caulfield for Holymanz in March and give him the opportunity to gain redemption for falling in the 2023 Australian Guineas.

Maher and Eustace’s representative Jack Turnbull said: “We set this horse for this race with its very good prize money. It leads to a nice option at the Karaka Million meeting in three weeks’ time.

“He’s progressive. He had a tumble in the Guineas and was travelling into it at that point. Even to come back to winning form is fantastic.”

A victory for Holymanz in New Zealand would be the perfect end to the Maher and Eustace training partnership and it would be a brave move to wager against them achieving the feat.

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