On the back of a terrific juvenile season, trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are emerging as major players in the better three-year-old races this spring.
The training partners made a clean sweep of the two age-restricted features at Rosehill on Saturday, winning the San Domenico Stakes (1100m) with Anders and the Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) with Holyfield.
Both colts controlled their races from the front but while Anders is a speed horse, Maher expects Holyfield to come into his own over a mile and further.
The Group One Caulfield Guineas is Holyfield’s immediate aim and Maher will weigh up whether to head there via the Golden Rose or lead-up races in Melbourne.
“I always thought the Guineas would be a good race for him,” Maher said.
“We nommed him for the Cox Plate. That might be getting well ahead of myself but we will see how he runs in the Guineas because I did think he would run a bit further.”
Holyfield was well beaten by North Pacific when he resumed in the Up And Coming Stakes but he was ridden upside down that day due to his big weight and the wet track.
Back on a dry Rosehill surface, Tim Clark took Holyfield ($10) to the front and he outclassed his rivals to beat Bazooka ($9.50) by 1-1/4 lengths with Overlord ($2.60 fav) running on late to grab third.
“Tim rode him very well. He was keen to get to the front and control it,” Maher said.
“He was always going to improve into his three-year-old year. He was quite a raw two-year-old.”
The stellar day out enjoyed by Maher and Eustace has coincided with the appointment of Jack Bruce, a former racing manager for Chris Waller, to head up their Sydney stable.
Bruce has only been in the job for a week and has proven to be a lucky charm.
“Jack has had a big influence in seven days. It will be nice to see what he can do in a month,” Maher said.