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Maher Keeping Spring Options Open For Anders

By Ray Hickson

Trainer Ciaron Maher hasn’t shut the door on putting Anders in the Golden Rose mix if he disposes of a classy line up in Saturday’s $160,000 TAB San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.

Trainer Ciaron Maher (Pic: Bradley Photos).

Though he admits stretching out to 1400m might be an ask for the colt Maher saw signs in his past couple of wins that he’s more than just a speed machine.

Anders is TAB favourite at $3.10 to add the San Domenico to his almost five length demolition in the Rosebud on heavy ground three weeks ago and Maher said he deserves top billing.

“He has tactical speed, a high cruising speed and he can quicken off it. He breaks quickly and puts himself in the race,’’ Maher said.

“Naturally he’s improved with the run under his belt but he was pretty right to go the other day as well. He’s a pretty exciting horse I think.

“I’m very happy with the horse and I wouldn’t be swapping him.’’

Anders had to work a bit early in the Rosebud to wrest the lead from The Face on his outside but clocked 35.39 for his last 600m (Punter's Intelligence), which was about a length and a half quicker than the next best, and his last 200m of 12.37 was a length faster late.

Maher, who co-trains with David Eustace, is based in Sydney at present overseeing the transition of the stable’s assistant trainer from Annabel Neasham to Jack Bruce.

He said until he sees what Anders produces on Saturday all options are on the table including heading to the Run To The Rose in two weeks if he is again dominant though going to the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) in Melbourne is the current Plan A.

And of course there was some TAB Everest talk, he's on the $26 line, after that runaway first-up win.

“He was always going to go to the Moir because of that speed but he did show us he could relax last start which was very good to see,’’ Maher said.

“I always thought he wouldn’t be a Golden Rose horse but given the way he relaxed, even though he was going quick, I’m not sure so it’ll be interesting to see what James (McDonald) says on Saturday.”

One horse not talked about greatly heading into the San Domenico is Gimcrack Stakes winner Every Rose and trainer Mark Newnham is happy enough to be the forgotten runner.

The only filly in the race, Every Rose ($13) is unlikely to press for the lead as she’s done in three of her five starts (she was slowly out in the Magic Millions) but Newnham said she’s been racing the right horses to be considered a chance.

“It is going to be a tough race to kick her off in but she has form around the right colts anyway, Farnan and King’s Legacy, so there’s nowhere to hide at this time of year,’’ he said.

“She showed in her trials she is a little more versatile this time, she parked off them nicely and hit the line well. She’s going there in good shape with improvement to come.”

Newnham rode Every Rose in her final piece of work on Monday at Warwick Farm and said she’ll appreciate getting back onto good ground.

Anders wins the Rosebud at Rosehill on August 8

Meanwhile, firmer going will be right up Holyfield’s alley in the Group 3 $160,000 De Bortoli Wines Ming Dynasty (1400m) and Ciaron Maher is expecting him to jump out of the ground.

Holyfield, $7.50 with TAB, didn’t take up his usual on pace position when running seventh behind North Pacific in the Up & Coming Stakes two weeks ago and Maher said the run was far from a failure.

“He had things against him first-up and he is a horse that definitely improves with racing,’’ he said.

“I was very happy with his run. He normally has plenty of barrier speed and we just rode him conservatively the other day because it was so heavy and I thought under the big weight he closed off really well.”

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Rosehill meeting

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