Maher cracks metro ton at Sandown

Australia’s leading trainer brings up Vic metro ton for the second time

BAROQUE ROAD winning the Stow Storage Solutions Handicap at Sportsbet Sandown Hillside in Springvale, Australia.
BAROQUE ROAD winning the Stow Storage Solutions Handicap at Sportsbet Sandown Hillside in Springvale, Australia. Picture: Racing Photos

Wednesday's Sandown meeting was a rare one at which Ciaron Maher did not have a clear-cut favourite going into the day, but that did not stop the country's most prolific trainer of winners bringing up a season milestone.

Maher celebrated his 100th Victorian metropolitan winner for the season when Baroque Road won the sixth event with Jamie Mott aboard.

The four-year-old son of Caravaggio, who started $6, was one of handful of runners for Maher at Sandown and earned the honour of bringing up the ton when he held on to score by a nose from $2 favourite He's Beset.

Maher also won the final race of the day when Awash justified some heavy late support to win as a $3.40 favourite with apprentice jockey Ryan Houston in the saddle.

The even team made for interesting discussion among the Maher stable in the lead-up to the meeting, but stable representative Leigh Allen was just pleased they didn't go home empty-handed.

"We were wondering whether we were going to have it today or we'd have to wait until Saturday, but to get it today is really good," Allen said.

"The whole team has done a really good job all season, so we're really happy.

"We've got 10 Group 1s as well, which is just one shy of last year, but prizemoney has gone through the roof compared to last year."

This season will be the fourth in succession that Maher has won the Victorian Metropolitan Trainers' Premiership, an award he won with 97 winners last year.

Maher's career-best is 104 in the 2021/22 season when, like until January this year, he operated in partnership with David Eustace.

Maher has eight more metropolitan meetings to set a new career-high tally and is expected to add to it on Saturday at Flemington, where he has short-priced favourites Berkshire Breeze and Pharari among a team of 11 acceptors.

Maher has trained 314 winners nationally for the season, with his runners closing in on $50 million in prizemoney.

He enjoys a 37-win advantage over Chris Waller in the race for the national premiership, an award Maher and Eustace won last year with 347 winners.