Trainer Ciaron Maher will be out to continue an already successful winter when he saddles up runners on the flat and over jumps this weekend.
Star mare Srikandi has gone to the paddock for a well-earned spell after winning back-to-back Group One races in Queensland, culminating in Saturday’s Tattersall’s Tiara at the Gold Coast.
Maher is yet to map out a spring campaign for the rising five-year-old who also win the Stradbroke Handicap.
Overseas travel is definitely an option next season with the Royal Ascot meeting in June and the Hong Kong International day in December in Maher’s thoughts.
Group One racing in Australia has finished for the season but Maher’s runners this weekend include consistent sprinter Hard Romp who chases his third Flemington win this campaign in Saturday’s All Victorian Sprint Series Heat 8 (1100m).
Import Kapour is nominated for the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill and also the Banjo Paterson Series heat over 2500m at Flemington.
On Sunday, Maher’s runners at Bendigo will be headed by champion jumper Bashboy in the Mosstrooper Steeplechase.
Hard Romp, the winner of six of his 24 starts, has shown a liking for the straight track at Flemington with two wins and a third this campaign.
He scored a strong win in another heat of the All Victorian Sprint Series (1100m) on June 13 and is on a path to the series final next month.
“He’s in great order,” Maher said.
“He’s been a really consistent horse. This preparation he’s taken a step up again and has been very consistent in Saturday grade.”
Hard Romp’s two recent wins have been on good tracks but Maher knows the gelding is even better on rain-affected ground.
Apprentice Michael Dee continues his association with Hard Romp on Saturday.
“He’s a good young rider and those two seemed to have clicked pretty well,” Maher said.