Hoopless: Bam’s on fire but needs a jockey
IN-FORM mare Bam's On Fire will continue her quest to win a Group 1 in the Stradbroke Handicap (1400M) at Eagle Farm on June 1 but the problem the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable have is finding a jockey.
Bam's On Fire will carry only 51.5 kilos and they have started the search for a rider.
"We're starting to work that out but the weight is an issue as there's not a lot of jockeys in Queensland who can ride at that weight," Eustace said.
Bam's On Fire has been racing consistently. Two starts ago she won the Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield and then at her last start she finished third in the Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) behind Bella Vella and Lyre.
"That was a really good run in the Sangster and her best form is over 1400m. She's been at Ballarat and the team there have done a great job with her," Eustace said.
On Saturday, the stable prepared it's 50th city winner for the season and they trail Lindsay Park by seven in the battle for the Melbourne Trainer's Premiership.
"That was our goal at the start of the season to win it and we'll give it a good crack. They (Lindsay Park) have greater numbers than us but we've planned to finish the season strongly."
"The team's doing a wonderful job keeping it all going and we'll try and chase down the Hayes' camp."
In other stable news, the stable's Grand Annual winner Ablaze will have his next start on the flat in the Stayer's Cup (3200m) on June 27 at Rosehill.
Eustace said this was to help enhance his ratings on the flat.
Looking to the spring Eustace said Ablaze would be nominated for the Melbourne Cup when entries were taken.
"It's pie in the sky stuff but if you were going to do it this is the year to do it. It's worth a look at anyway as he's strong over two miles."
After Sydney, Ablaze will return to Melbourne and be aimed at the Grand National Hurdle and Grand National Steeplechase.
Eustace said star three-year-old filly Loving Gaby will return to the stable on June 1.
"She'll be set for the feature sprints and if we could get a slot in The Everest she'd go there for sure."
MAHER ADDS AUSTRALIAN STEEPLECHASE TO CV
Ciaron Maher added his first Australian Steeplechase (3900m) victory to his extensive and always expanding CV when Bit Of A Lad took out that event at Sandown Lakeside.
Maher said Bit Of A Lad's toughness was his main attribute and this combined with Shane Jackson's ride were the reasons he won the race.
"I think he ran in the first jumps race last season and ran in the last jumps race last season. He's a tough horse and a consistent jumper," Maher said.
Bit Of A Lad demonstrated his toughness as he finished fourth at his previous start in the Grand Annual Steeplechase where Maher and co-trainer David Eustace had placed visors on him.
And Maher is set to continue to challenge Bit Of A Lad as he said he's got another three or four starts left for him in the jumps season which would culminate with a run in the Grand National Steeplechase.
Maher said Shane Jackson's decision to go forward early in the race was the winning move as there wasn't a lot of pace in the race.
"It was going to be a testing race, it is very heavy up there on the hill, but he jumped well and he relaxes very well."
Jackson echoed Maher's thoughts on Bit Of A Lad saying not only was he the toughest horse in the race but he was also the fittest.
"The visors have done a great job, his jumping was superb. I was left in front a long way out but I didn't want to have it turning into a sprint race either because he had just come off a Grand Annual run so there would be no issues with staying. It was a super, tough effort," Jackson said.
Bit Of A Lad ($4.40) defeated Shamal ($6.50) by eight lengths with Undergroundfighter ($101) a length and a half away third.