An autumn Melbourne cameo for Mr O’Ceirin on Saturday will kick-start a campaign aimed at feature races in Queensland.
The Ciaron Maher-trained stayer resumes in the Group Three Victoria Handicap in his first start since last year’s Caulfield Cup.
Maher elected to bypass the main carnival races in Melbourne and Sydney with the Group-winning galloper and instead look to next month’s Group Two Hollindale Stakes and then Group One Doomben Cup.
“He doesn’t really like firm tracks and the idea was to target Brisbane,” Maher said.
“His rating is getting up there now and he’s got to run in the better races and we just thought they would be some nice races to target.”
Mr O’Ceirin won the Grafton Cup last year and in the spring added the Group Three Naturalism Stakes to earn a Caulfield Cup start.
He finished 11th in the race and Maher said the gelding appeared to have come back well for his first-up run over 1400m.
“This race is probably a bit short of his ideal distance to kick off at but the race and the timing of it fits in well with his next start in the Hollindale,” he said.
Mr O’Ceirin is topweight with 58kg in a capacity field headlined by last start Newcastle Newmarket Handicap winner Mecir who has been installed a $5 favourite ahead of Ready To Rip ($5.50) and Sistine Demon ($6).
Mecir will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn who returned to the saddle on Wednesday at Sandown with a win after four months out through injury.
In the day’s other feature, the Group Three Easter Cup, the imported Chris Waller-trained Our Voodoo Prince is favourite to maintain an unbeaten start to his Australian career.
Maher has Moudre stepping up to middle distance for the first time this campaign in the Group Three Easter Cup.
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