Millions draws no barrier for Maher stable

Trainer Ciaron Maher is chasing a Magic Millions double with runners in the Classic and Guineas.

The Ciaron Maher-David Eustace partnership is hoping the Gold Coast’s reputation as a track where barriers can be irrelevant will help the stable create Magic Millions history.

Inside barriers have not always been an advantage in Millions races where there are 16 runners and a mad charge to the first turn.

In fact 11 of the 19 winners of the Millions Guineas (1400m) have started from barrier 10 or wider.

The 2YO Classic, which is run at 1200m, has a better percentage of winners from inside barriers but has seen 15 winners come from wide barriers including three from the extreme outside.

The Maher-Eustace stable is one of five to have runners in both Saturday’s 2YO Classic and Guineas.

No trainer has claimed a Magic Millions 2YO Classic-Magic Millions 3YO Guineas double in the 20 years of the two races being run on the one day.

Maher and Eustace will have Rathlin and Away Game in the Classic and Dubious in the Guineas.

First held in 2001 as the Magic Millions 3YO Trophy, the race has been run as the Guineas since 2011.

It has been won by some of Australia’s top stables but none have been able to claim the Classic on the same day.

Gai Waterhouse has come the closest, winning the Guineas with Ha Ha and taking second in the Classic with Chuckle in 2002.

Maher has been happy with his three hopes and was upbeat after the barrier draw despite awkward draws.

“Rathlin (barrier 19) and Away Game (14) drew wide and I would have been happier with a draw inside ten,” he said.

“But I have been happy with them and in particular Away Game who I think can peak on Saturday. She is push-button and can do what her jockey asks.”

Dubious has been the most travelled horse in Australia since finishing second to Exhilarates in last year’s Classic.

He has raced in stakes races in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

“Dubious has drawn ten beside the favourite Alligator Blood so we should be able to follow him,” Maher said.

“He hasn’t missed many dances but he seems to be thriving.”

James Cummings will have Conceited in the 2YO Classic and Exhilarates in the Guineas.

Exhilarates will also be trying to become the first horse to win both the 2YO and 3YO Millions races.

The Toby and Trent Edmonds partnership has Wisdom of Water and Smart ‘N’ Sexy in the Classic and Scout in the Guineas while Mark Newnham has Every Rose (2YO) and Diamond Thunder (3YO).

The Peter and Paul Snowden partnership dominates the 2YO with King’s Legacy, Aim, Nitrous and Stellar Pauline as well as Hightail and Leviathan in the 3YO.

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