Ad Le Parrain ridden by John Allen wins the Sheahan Plumbing 3YO BM64 Handicap at Bendigo Racecourse in May. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Maher with strong hand in Flemington sprint

7 June 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

The Ciaron Maher stable will need all hands on deck when they saddle five for a sprint race at Flemington.

The Ciaron Maher stable will saddle five three-year-olds in a sprint race down the straight at Flemington and if they had their way it would be more. 

Steel City , NamesakeLe Parrain Links and Wallenda line up in the ATA Trainers' Trust Handicap (1100m) on Saturday while the stable had Takeko balloted from the race with Pharari being saved for a race at Mornington on Monday. 

Jack Turnbull, Maher's assistant trainer who runs the Cranbourne stable, said it is not ideal having so many horses in the one race. 

"It's programming. There's not a lot of races for the three-year-olds, especially straight races," Turnbull said. 

"We had Pharari and Takeo entered, but they've got to go elsewhere." 

Turnbull is looking forward to the return of Steel City who won the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill last year after being unlucky in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Sandown. 

Steel City had one run in the spring, finishing well back at Flemington, and was then spelled. 

"She had a bit of time off to let her grow out," Turnbull said. 

"She had a plain preparation after the Blue Diamond, so we reset her over a long period of time. 

"I can't fault her homework, albeit she has to carry a bit of weight. 

"She will be there for a long way, but late, I think she may be a little bit soft." 

Turnbull said Steel City was a much stronger filly now and had always shown a touch of class after arguably being unlucky in the Blue Diamond last year. 

He said Steel City's jump-outs had been strong and she had responded when pushed along. 

Namesake was successful during the Brisbane Winter Carnival last year and after campaigning in Sydney last spring is set to make his Victorian debut on Saturday. 

"He had a bit of time off with a hiccup and has been prepared for this up in Ballarat," Turnbull said. 

"You would think with the time off, he might need the run, but I saw him last week and he seems in good form." 

Links is looking to go back-to-back down the straight scoring there on May 18. 

"She's very effective down the straight. It's rare to find horse that really appreciate straight racing," Turnbull said. 

"She's drawn the standside, which I think is great. It's a step up, but you can't dismiss her form."