As Away Game prepares to return to the scene of her richest triumph and try and win another $2 million race, Ciaron Maher has revealed how he has looked outside the box to train the star filly.
Away Game, last year’s Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner, famously had eight starts in an unconventional two-year-old campaign in which she raced in four states and showed she was an iron filly.
Ladbrokes rates her a $5 chance to become the first horse to win both the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and 3YO Guineas when she lines up in the $2 million Guineas (1400m) on the Gold Coast next Saturday.
After Glen Boss gave Away Game a gallop between races on the coast on Saturday, Maher told how he believes the filly will be peaking for her Guineas assault where exciting Queenslander Isotope ($3) is her main rival.
And Maher revealed how he and co-trainer Dave Eustace have trained the filly simply by gut instinct rather than following any “playbook” or traditional ideas.
“People get pre-conceived ideas about training two-year-olds but what is the playbook?” Maher said.
“She is a horse that we would give her a week off as a two-year-old and she would put on ten kilograms.
“She really enjoyed being in work and she was just thriving.
“So with her we have just always trained the horse as she has presented to us, without following any pre-conceived ideas or methods.
“Whether she is good enough or not next Saturday, I am positive she will be absolutely peaking for the race.
“Her first run in Queensland this summer (when run down by Isotope in the Gold Edition Plate) I was really happy with.
“She had a healthy blow and came on from that then I was happy with her trial win last week, although I don’t get too carried away with trials.”
Some classy fillies in this morning's trial at @GCTurfClub with last year's @mmsnippets 2YO Classic winner Away Game getting an edge on fellow Magic Millions 3YO Guineas contender Isotope @cmaherracing pic.twitter.com/AcZjyZGNkZ
Ciaron Maher. Pic: Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Maher had planned for Away Game to have a shot at the Group 1 Moir Stakes during the Melbourne spring but the filly spiked a temperature so the plan was reworked.
Away Game and Snapdancer sharing some grass after their morning dip with Christine @cmaherracing @mmsnippets pic.twitter.com/Y6kCWXnQYc
Away Game has never raced over the 1400m trip of the Guineas but Maher doesn’t foresee that will be an issue.
“She has never been to 1400(m) but you would rather do it on the Gold Coast rather than a big track and, also, she is usually pretty quick out of barriers and puts herself into the race,” Maher said.
“I was very happy with her in the spring, she was going to run in the Moir and then maybe into the Coolmore (Stud Stakes) but she had a temp.
“We gave her 10 days in the paddock and reset for the Magic Millions.”
Away Game. Pic: AAP.Source:AAP
Maher also has another leading chance in a $2 million race next Saturday.
He is trying to win back-to-back Magic Millions 2YO Classics. Filly Fake Love is a $12 chance.
Fake Love ran second in her first Queensland run, in the Listed Calaway Gal Stakes, but Maher has readied her for a Magic Millions assault with a trial win on the coast last week.
“I was happy just to give her a trial rather than another race … she will be right to go,” Maher said.
“She is electric out of the barriers and she will be a good chance.”
In-form Glen Boss will ride both Away Game and Fake Love next Saturday.
Originally published asWhy Maher looked outside the box with Millions champ
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