Maher mares meet again at Moonee Valley

Ciaron Maher is using the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes as a stepping stone to bigger spring prizes for two of his stable stars but victory for either could change their programs.

The winner of Saturday’s Group Two race gains automatic entry into the Cox Plate which is currently not on the radar for either Set Square or Jameka, the winners of the past two VRC Oaks.

“Both are probably on a Caulfield Cup path so it doesn’t map that well,” Maher said.

“If one of them was to win then you would have to consider it.

“We had thought about it with Jameka last year.

“If she had won the Thousand Guineas we’d have rolled the dice into the Cox Plate but she ran second and we took the alternative path.

“It could be an option for her.”

Both mares will be having their second starts back after meeting in the P B Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield on August 13.

Jameka finished fourth behind Miss Rose De Lago with Set Square ninth.

Early betting suggests Jameka at $7.50 has better prospects ahead of Set Square ($19), although Maher is happy with both mares.

“They’ve both come through their first-up runs really well,” Maher said.

“Their work has been good, the extra distance of the mile will suit and there should be good speed from The Cleaner and they should be able to slot in comfortably.

“Jameka has won around the Valley before so I would possibly lean more towards her but Set Square’s sectionals were really good first-up at Caulfield.”

The mares could be split after Saturday with Jameka maybe heading to the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley and Set Square to the Naturalism at Caulfield which would gain her a Caulfield Cup start.

They could then meet again in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington before next month’s Caulfield Cup.

“Set Square is on the borderline of getting a Caulfield Cup start,” Maher said.

“Depending on how she runs on Saturday, there are options for her.”

Maher said Set Square had matured after missing an autumn campaign which he said in the long-term would benefit her.

“Srikandi and Azkadellia missed an autumn and came back better the following prep,” Maher said.

“She hasn’t won for a while but has been competing at the highest level and has been very competitive.

“I think she’s come up better this time around and she seems to have matured into a strong racehorse.”

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