Ciaron Maher says he cannot recall having a better group of two-year-olds than he has this season after making a clean sweep of the two juvenile races at Randwick.
The trainer, who works in partnership with David Eustace, already has reigning Golden Slipper favourite Cellsabeel, who he confirmed was on target to contest the $2 million Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm next weekend.
On Saturday, Magic Millions Classic winner Away Game ($2.10 fav) underlined her 2020 Golden Slipper claims with a comfortable 2-1/4 length win over Centimental ($6.50) in the Group Three Widden Stakes (1100m).
A race later, Prague ($4.40) was arguably even more impressive in winning the Canonbury Stakes (1100m).
Maher made the trip to Randwick to watch the pair and was impressed by them both, but particularly Prague.
“I was a little bit anxious before the race because I thought he might have just had that X-factor,” Maher said.
“With the shades on and the way he had come on in the coat from his first-up run, there was a bit of timing about him
“He will take a lot from that today. He actually pinned the ears back and started to work out what it is all about
“He is a beautiful colt with an extremely bright future.”
Maher said Prague was likely to have another run before the Golden Slipper on March 21 to boost his prize money and experience.
However, Away Game could head to the world’s richest juvenile race with another start.
She has already had an arduous campaign taking in the Magic Millions and the Widden Stakes prize money should secure her a Slipper spot.
“We might not see her ’til then. We will just see where she sits monetary-wise but she certainly doesn’t need a lot of racing,” Maher said.
Visiting Englishman Tom Marquand rode both of Maher’s juveniles, Away Game giving him his first stakes victory in Australia.
He is due to return to his homeland in two weeks but says he will happily return for a Golden Slipper ride, and Maher in turn says he will “100 per cent” consider flying Marquand back for the race.
Although loathe to compare the two, Marquand said Prague appealed as a horse with a lot of upside.
“Obviously the filly has probably shown some of her best hand already,” Marquand said.
“She has shown she is extremely talented and extremely tough.
“But this lad has a hell of a lot of improving physically and mentally.
“They are two very nice horses going places and Ciaron has a stable full of good two-year-olds who are extremely well managed.”
The colts ran almost half a second faster than the fillies with Prague scoring by 1-3/4 lenths from Breeders’ Plate winner Global Quest ($2.80 fav), a neck ahead of Return With Honour ($6.60).
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au