Cup winning pair's bittersweet move

22 December 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Melbourne Cup winning training partners Ciaron Maher and David Eustace will end their partnership, effective from January.

The most powerful training partnership in Australian racing will end in January, with David Eustace confirming he is leaving Ciaron Maher Racing to take up a position in Hong Kong. 

Maher and Eustace made the announcement via a joint statement on Thursday, with both describing the news as "bittersweet". 

Eustace will join the likes of fellow Australians David Hayes and Mark Newnham in the Hong Kong training ranks, along with former Te Akau Racing head Jamie Richards, and says it is an opportunity he couldn't turn down. 

"Obviously I am thrilled to be offered the position in Hong Kong, it has always been a dream of (mine) since I was a boy," Eustace said. 

"It's exciting and a challenge I will relish, however I will miss being part of this extraordinary operation. 

"I will be forever grateful to Ciaron for the opportunities he has given me, for teaching me so much, for opening my eyes to the importance of data and analytics and the fundamental importance of sports science." 

Maher and Eustace have trained close to 1600 winners since forming their partnership in August 2018, 30 of those at Group 1 level including the 2022 Melbourne Cup with Gold Trip

Along the way they have captured four consecutive Victorian trainers' premierships and were the leading trainers by winners across the nation last season. 

Maher said his partner and friend would be sorely missed, but he also described the departure of Eustace as an opportunity for change. 

"This is a bittersweet announcement," Maher said. 

"Bitter, because it will be difficult to replace someone with David's skills, work ethic and all-round contribution. Sweet, because it's a fitting reward for David and at the same time gives CMR (Ciaron Maher Racing) a great opportunity to evolve and develop. 

"On a personal level, I just want to thank David. He has been alongside me from the early days through thick and thin. I know we couldn't have reached our current position as champion trainers of Australia without him – and his Hong Kong appointment is recognition of that." 

Maher is establishing a reputation for nurturing the next generation of trainers with Eustace following in the footsteps of the likes of Annabel NeashamLucy Yeomans and Jack Bruce, who have all come through Maher's systems before branching out in their own right. 

 The Hong Kong Jockey Club has also released a statement confirming its acquisition of Eustace, with Executive Director, Racing Andrew Harding saying the young horseman will bring "a unique skill set". 

"He has worked with and learned from some of horse racing's finest trainers around the world and with his understanding of sports science, coupled with established training methods, I look forward to watching David's career flourish in Hong Kong," Harding said. 

Eustace will begin his Hong Kong tenure at the start of the 2024/25 season.