By Glenn Davis
The training partnership of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace is hopeful it can wind up its Brisbane winter campaign with another Stakes winner at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Maher and Eustace have had a great Brisbane winter carnival winning four Stakes races including the Group 1 Doomben Cup and Group 2 O’Shea Stakes with Kenedna.
They also won the Group 2 Champagne Classic with Dubious and Group 2 The Roses with Etana.
All three are now being aimed at the Melbourne spring carnival.
Maher and Eustace have a strong chance of a fifth Stakes win with tough stayers Yogi and Azuro in the $200,000 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m).
Yogi has been allotted topweight of 60kgs and will be ridden by Ryan Maloney while Matt McGillivray partners imported stayer Azuro, who is on the minimum with 54kgs.
No horse in the last 20 years has carried 60kgs to victory in the Queensland Cup with Michael Moroney’s Tinseltown (2010) and Mister Impatience (2014) the previous highest weighted winners with 58kgs.
“The Queensland trip has been very good for us with Kenedna winning the Doomben Cup and O’Shea Stakes and Dubious and Etana winning Group 2’s,” Maher said.
“Hopefully, we can finish up there with another winner in the Queensland Cup."
Yogi is coming off a last start second to Destiny’s Kiss in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) on a slow track at Rosehill on June 24 while Azuro won the Stayer’s Cup (3200m) at Rosehill on June 29.
“Yogi’s got 60kgs but that’s a weight I’m quite pleased with after he had 59kgs in the Winter Cup,” Maher said.
“He was very good in the Winter Cup and I’ve had this race in mind for him for a long time.
“He’s well credentialled and won the Sandown Cup last year and he’ll probably head back home for that race again after his Brisbane trip.
“I took the blinkers off Azuro last start and put winkers on and he was very impressive in the Stayer’s Cup.
“He’s purely a stayer and likes wet tracks but he’s just as effective on top of the ground.”
Interstate and overseas trained stayers have dominated the Queensland Cup since 2000 winning the 3200-metre feature 16 times.
The last successful Queenslander was the Ben Ahrens-trained Spechenka in 2011.
Racing Queensland webnews July 17