Ciaron Maher is growing in confidence as he puts the finishing touches on boom filly Loving Gaby for next week’s Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
A stunning last-to-first winner of the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) on debut, the daughter of I Am Invincible assumed favouritism for the $1.5 million feature by default after the unplaced performances of well-regarded fillies Catch Me and Brooklyn Hustle in the Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on Saturday.
Speaking after watching the filly gallop over 800 metres at The Valley on Monday morning, Maher said he wouldn’t swap his filly for any other juvenile in the country.
“She came through her race very well, she never missed a beat really,” Maher said.
“We’ve just given her an easy week and this morning she just came out here and did a piece of work over half a mile, she worked with another stablemate called Isa Rocket.
“She was good, her action was great and she quickened up nicely.
“She’s big, raw and new but when she lets go she is quite exciting.”
“When she lets go, she’s quite exciting.”@cmaherracing’s Blue Diamond favourite Loving Gaby had a gallop at @TheValley on Monday morning. pic.twitter.com/Gy7brFHcqY
— Racing.com (@Racing) February 11, 2019
Maher’s assault on Blue Diamond Day won’t be limited to the two-year-old feature, with seasoned sprinter Bons Away shaping as a genuine contender for the $500,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
The five-year-old clocked 51.76 seconds for his 800-metre gallop at The Valley and his trainer believes he’s in career-best form.
“He’s going great,” he said.
“We never do too much with him, he likes to be fresh so he galloped very much in hand this morning.”
And recent stable acquisition Extra Brut remains on track to run first-up in Saturday’s Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Under Aquis Farm’s retained rider Michael Walker, the Derby-winning colt worked over 1000m and ran home his final 400m in a sharp 23.53.
WATCH: Loving Gaby win the Chairman’s Stakes