Doubts about whether Maurus can stay

The shock defeat of short-priced favourite Maurus in the Caloundra Cup has raised doubts about his ability to run a strong 2400 metres.

Maurus started at $1.50 in Saturday’s Listed race on the strength of his dominant Ipswich Cup win two weeks earlier over 2150 metres.

Stewards questioned jockey Damian Browne about the horse’s effort and his tactics after Maurus finished fifth, 3-1/2 lengths from the winner Amexed.

Browne told them it was probably a case of the horse not running out the 2400m.

He said he was happy to be at the tail of the field in the early stages and had attempted to force Index Linked wider at the 1800m.

“But he held me in and I was content to trail Jumbo Prince,” Browne said adding that when he asked Maurus to quicken at the 600m, the horse did not respond as he expected.

He said Maurus was bumped by another runner near the 400m and again he did not quicken as would be expected.

“In my view he didn’t run out a strong 2400,” he said.

Trainer David Vandyke said while he was disappointed, the horse had failed at 2400m before when among the tail-enders in last year’s Group One Metropolitan.

Vandyke has moved his stable from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast and said he was uncertain whether he would be training Maurus in the spring.

The five-year-old is raced by Paul Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds and Vandyke said he would respect any decision to have Maurus trained in NSW or Victoria.

“I’m the one who decided to move and I’m grateful to Paul and Waratah for their support,” Vandyke said.

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