Progressive mare Naantali has given the newly formed training partnership of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace a city win at the opening metropolitan meeting of the new season.
Eustace had been Maher’s assistant but was elevated to co-trainer from the start of this season, which began on Wednesday.
Reserve Street got the partnership off the mark with a win at Pakenham on Thursday and Naantali has followed that up with a city victory in Saturday’s 1PRINT Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
“There’s a lot of demands on racing now,” Maher said.
“It’s seven days a week, with night and day meetings and interstate racing. Dave has been an integral part of the stable and it’s good for him to get on the ticket and have a crack with me.”
Four-year-old Naantali took her record to four wins from eight starts and made it back-to-back city victories after winning at Flemington over 1400m two weeks earlier.
With Damian Lane aboard, Naantali, the $2.15 favourite, settled midfield before chiming in rounding the home turn.
She raced clear to defeat Ma Jones by 1-1/4 lengths with the same margin to Alaskan Sun third.
“She’s still quite raw and very progressive and I think she’s only going to get better,” Maher said.
Maher said he would let to mare try to keep building through the grades but could give her the opportunity to snare some valuable black type at some stage this spring.
“But I’d say she’s going to be a nice mare in the autumn,” Maher said.