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Ad Maharba won the TCL Talindert Stakes at Flemington in 2023. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Maharba up for Straight Six test

17 May 2024 Written by Craig Brennan – Racing And Sports

The Listed Hilton Nicholas Straight Six (1200m) at Flemington became the target for Maharba after a wide draw and weight forced him out of the Wagga Town Plate.

Grahame Begg had plans of taking last start Stakes winner Maharba to the Wagga Town Plate, a race the sprinter's owner Gary Towzell would have cherished. 

But success in the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington, combined with a wide draw for the Wagga Town Plate, saw Maharba scratched and saved for the Listed Hilton Nicholas Straight Six (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday. 

Local identity Towzell had his heart set on winning the Wagga Town Plate where local jockey Danny Beasley had been booked for the ride. 

Begg explained the Wagga Town Plate was weighted as a country handicap and that Maharba had paid the penalty for the Hareeba victory. 

"As he had won a Listed race, he had 58 kilos, a massive bump in the weights," Begg said. 

"So, he went from being on the limit with 54 kilos, to 58 kilos. It was too much weight and then he copped an outside gate. 

"It was going to be a wasted exercise going up there, so this was our next option where he's got 54-½ kilos. 

"There was a couple of horses that pushed the weights down a bit, but it's almost the same weight he had when he won the Hareeba. 

"It's a harder race, up the straight, but he's in good shape." 

Maharba is joined by Steparty as one of two three-year-olds in Saturday's contest against the older horses. 

Begg said it was not an easy assignment for the three-year-olds to be tackling the older horses under handicap conditions. 

He said after Saturday, a trip to Brisbane may be on the cards for Maharba. 

"There's a race up there for three-year-olds that is worth $100,000 to the winner over 1200 metres," Begg said. 

"It's a beautiful race for him if he runs well on Saturday and then I can winter him up there." 

But first Begg wants to see how Maharba performs down the straight where he has a win and the 'worst run' of his career. 

"He won the first one down there, and then the next one last spring, it was awful," Begg said. 

"He drew the wrong side of the track that day and that has been the only bad run he has put in for me throughout his whole career. 

"I've put a line through it."