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Wil Covers All Bases To Lead Maher's Doncaster Troupe

By Ray Hickson

Trainer Ciaron Maher says he still doesn’t know where emerging galloper Another Wil’s ceiling is but what he is confident about is that he’ll be able to handle whatever Randwick, and Sydney’s weather, throws at him on Saturday.

Trainer Ciaron Maher (Pic: Steve Hart)

The exciting four-year-old is one of five Maher runners in the final field for the Group 1 $4m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m), he also has the first emergency, but all eyes are on whether Another Wil can continue his rise in the famous Randwick mile.

History is a little against him. No horse has ever won the Doncaster Prelude then backed it up on the big day but it’s not an impossible task as the Ajax Stakes used to be run a week out and Grand Armee won both races in 2003.

Maher said on Sky Sports Radio the gelding just keeps producing and that means, even though he’s drawn wide, it’s hard to know how high he’ll reach.

“He’s going up through the grades and winning in similar fashion each time which is very hard to do,’’ he said.

“He’s obviously very progressive, he’s a big scopey horse that handles all surfaces. Wet doesn’t matter, dry doesn’t matter.

“He can get a little bit warm as we saw (last) Saturday but he hadn’t run for a little while and I think with that run under his belt he’ll be better.”

Twelve of the last 20 Doncasters have been won by a horse with a double figure barrier and what Another Wil showed in his Prelude win is he has the gate speed to offset it.

Jamie Kah retains the ride on Another Wil, $3.80 favourite with TAB on Wednesday. She also partnered stablemate Southport Tycoon to his Australian Guineas win and in his recent Sydney barrier trial.

The form out of that Guineas has been a talking point with runner-up Veight winning the George Ryder and third placed Riff Rocket taking the Rosehill Guineas on Slipper Day.

Maher said everything he can control about the colt, to be ridden by Rachel King at 49kg, has gone smoothly.

“He’s a serious colt and his form would suggest that,’’ he said.

“He has a bit of an awkward draw but in terms of prepping a horse for a race he’s thriving. He worked nicely on Monday as well.”

Detonator Jack won The Gong back in November on a heavy track and pleased Maher with his first-up third in the Ajax three weeks ago behind Democracy Manifest.

The gelding has won three of his four starts at the mile and Maher says he has plenty in his favour to run a big race.

“He’s going super, I think he’s thrived off his first-up run,’’ he said.

“He ran a peak, he’s got a great draw, a wet track which he enjoys. A mile is perfect, big track, he’s got a great chance.”

Import Berkshire Shadow is an unknown in Sydney given he only made his debut for Maher at Flemington a month ago but there’s positives the trainer can find.

He was Group 1 placed in the Lockinge at Newbury back in May last year, has won on a soft track, and Maher feels the tempo of a Doncaster will suit him better than what he struck fresh.

“That’s a European soft track so it’s probably equivalent to a heavy,’’ he said.

“He’s got proper Group 1 form over there so he’s a quality horse.

“First-up on a firmer deck at Flemington it was a muddling run race but I think he will be much better suited to a better tempo that he’ll get on Saturday.”

Coolmore Classic runner-up Semana might be stretching her powers by attempting the Randwick mile but Maher said he can’t fault the way this mare is racing.


Another Wil wins the Doncaster Prelude

“She’s just thriving Semana, she’s had a super prep and she’s just gone to another level,’’ he said.

“She was huge last start. He pushed the button fairly early, Zougotcha is a great mare that was able to knock her off.

“I’m saying 1500m to a mile will be right at her top but she’s a mare in form.”

Maher said he could make a solid case of each of his five runners, and emergency Nugget who ran third in the race last year.

All the fields, form and replays for Day 1 of The Star Championships at Randwick

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