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Maher's loving the Sunshine State as Kenedna salutes in the Group 1 Doomben Cup

By Alex Nolan and Isaac Murphy

Caulfield horseman Ciaron Maher has continued his love affair with the TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival after taking the time-honoured Group 1 Doomben Cup with Kenedna.

Maher, in partnership with David Eustace, adds the Doomben Cup to his impressive list of Queensland feature wins including the Queensland Derby (Ruthven), Stradbroke Handicap (Srikandi) and Tatt’s Tiara (Srikandi).

“I love coming up to Queensland it’s a great time of year to get out of Victoria and get a bit of sun on your back, I’m just rapt to be able to train a horse of this order,” he said.

“Jonny Allen’s ride was unbelievable, when a lot tried to pull out early he just waited and pushed the button up the fence.”

For Kenedna, it was her second Group 1 win this preparation after taking the Coolmore Legacy at Randwick during The Championships.

It was also her first run back in Queensland after winning the Doomben Roses and finishing fourth in the 2017 Queensland Oaks when prepared by banned trainer Darren Weir.

She becomes the first mare to win the weight-for-age classic since Streama in 2014 and just the second since Cinque Cento in 2007.  

“The owners were going to take her to the breeding barn but thankfully they trusted her with us and I was just in the right place at the right time,” Maher said.

“I thought she was pretty right to go today, she took improvement out of that run at the Gold Coast she was probably in the wrong part of that track and didn’t handle the conditions.”

Irish jockey John Allen managed to find an inside run on the five-year-old mare to beat home a fast-finishing Life Less Ordinary and Sixties Groove.

“We had a beautiful run in transit and I just didn’t want to go too early on her which got us into a bit of a pocket, but the split came on the inside and she did the rest.”

“I’ve got a great relationship with Ciaron and Dave and to ride another Group One winner for them is fantastic.”