Training partners Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s chances of an Oakleigh Plate win have been dealt a blow by wide barriers for their two runners.
Stablemates Kemono and Bons Away have drawn next to each in Saturday’s Group One sprint over 1100m at Caulfield, in 19 and 20 respectively.
The trainers also have an anxious wait with doubts over the fitness of easing Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Loving Gaby who will be re-examined on Friday.
Bons Away is coming off a first-up victory at Caulfield earlier this month after a patient ride from Linda Meech who is aboard again on Saturday.
Just how the race pans out for Bons Away will be key to his chances with the sprinter to start from barrier 17 if the four emergencies don’t gain a start.
“If he’s exposed around the turn, looping them, he might get found out, but if he gets cuddled up, he’s a chance,” Maher said.
“The race mapped perfectly for him the other day given the speed crossed and led him so he wasn’t exposed and he was able to use that turn of foot.
“He’s only got a short, sharp turn of foot, so if the race maps out good enough for him, I’m sure he’s good enough to win.”
Maher said Bons Away was a horse who improves each preparation.
“We were going to go to Perth (in November) but we kept one in the tank with a view of getting him right for these races,” Maher said.
Japanese import Kemono is having his first run for Maher and Eustace after being transferred from disqualified trainer Darren Weir.
Maher said he was still learning about the horse but had gained some valuable insight from his former trainer.
“Weiry was pretty good. He told me quite a bit about him and he came to me in great order,” Maher said.
“He had jump-out at Caulfield the other day and a nice gallop on Tuesday and he’s a quality horse.
“It’s a handicap and he’s got a good record, so we’ll see how he goes.”