The $5m All-Star Mile is on the radar for the quickly improving Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained import Nugget after winning the Lord Stakes (1700m) at Sandown.
Ciaron Maher will plot a path to the $5m All-Star Mile for Nugget after a stylish win in Listed Lord Stakes (1700m) at Sandown on Boxing Day.
Nugget loomed up ominously to leader So Si Bon at the 300m and swept past in a matter of bounds with little more than a shake of the reins from top jockey John Allen.
Life Lessons, prepared by Peter Moody, tried gallantly to go with the winner but was no match in the closing stages.
“Today was hopefully ticking the box,” Maher said.
“He was a bit stiff not to win at the carnival, probably a bit of match practice and the other horse (Detonator Jack) got over the top.
“Two solid wins in Sydney, he’s a proper progressive horse, I think he’s a Group 1 handicapper, they would be the races you could slip him into, (the) All Star Mile looks ideal for him.
“He’s a strong, neat horse, Johnny said you can have him anywhere you want, he was pretty impressed with him.
“He’s got that sharp, quick action, a good turn of foot, on the back of that we’ll try and map a plan into the All Star.”
Nugget shortened $26 into $15 in TAB’s pre-nominations All-Star Mile market after the win.
🏇🏁 STAKES WINNER 🏁🏇
He's a prime contender for @allstarmile 2023!
— Australian Bloodstock Updates (@ausbloodstock2) December 26, 2022
Nugget ran second in his Australian debut at Flemington in the race straight after the Melbourne Cup.
Coincidently the Australian Bloodstock-syndicated six-year-old is raced by many of the same owners as Cup winner Gold Trip.
“They have found a really nice horse,” Maher said.
“He’s stepped up to stakes level now, on the back of this we’ll probably target a race like the All Star Mile, I think he’s got that quality, you could see that with the big weight today.
“When you see Johnny at the 300m sitting on them like a church mouse he must feel pretty good underneath him, he looked confident and won quite easy.
“We’ll start banging the drum and getting a few votes.”
Maher is open-minded about the route to the The Valley on March 18 for the All-Star Mile.
The CF Orr or Futurity stakes could form part of the map.
“I think he’s got Group 1 ability,” Maher said.
“Given his rating, now he’s gone above 100, that’s the key. You’ve got to get him in. I’d say if he runs again and wins he’s got a bit of x-factor.”
3 Year Old Bay Stallion
Foaled: Mar 12, 2020
3 Year Old Bay Stallion
Sire: War Front
Dam: True Style
Foaled: May 20, 2020
3 Year Old Bay Gelding
Sire: Sioux Nation
Dam: Starlight Princess
Foaled: Apr 21, 2020
3 Year Old Chestnut Gelding
Sire: New Bay
Dam: Poyle Meg
Foaled: Apr 15, 2020
4 Year Old Bay Gelding
Foaled: Oct 18, 2019