Cups hopeful Mayfair Spirit out to make a statement at Kembla Grange

Trainer Ciaron Maher is hoping promising import Mayfair Spirit can further enhance his spring credentials when the Cups hopefuls lines up at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

The Irish-bred gelding is one of 18 contenders from Maher’s yard that have been nominated for this year’s Melbourne Cup while he also holds one for the Caulfield Cup earlier in the spring.

Mayfair Spirit heads to the NSW south coast for his second Australian start in the Quayclean Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m).

He lines up in NSW just a week after Cups-bound stablemate Mankayan made his debut at Flemington, flashing home to finish runner up to D’Aguilar over 1600m.

Both horses were purchased with Australian Bloodstock at the same Tattersalls sale in the UK last October.

“Those group of horses that were bought are all good, nice horses,” Maher, who trains alongside David Eustace, said.

“You saw Mankayan make his debut last weekend finishing second and we've just given them some time to adjust.

“You think you are buying a ready made horse when you purchase them out of those sales but it helps to give them a little bit of extra time.

“Mayfair Spirit appears to have benefited from that.”

Mankayan (No.11) finished second behind D’Aguilar at Flemington last week. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Mayfair Spirit was already a six-time winner in the UK before being sold last year as a potential Cups campaigner.

But Maher knows the son of Charm Spirit will need to get his rating up over his next few runs to give himself a chance of running in those races.

“He has to get through his grades but if he does that and lobs into something like a Geelong Cup or Lexus Stakes, that will be his chance,” he said.

“This year you just don’t know what is coming as you normally would and he normally might not have been nominated in the past.”

Mayfair Spirit’s only Australian run to date came on July 25 at Sale when the six-year-old was three and four deep throughout the 1615m test.

Despite the wide run he battled on strongly to finish fourth within a length of the winner Heir To The Throne, which was a winner at Sandown at Wednesday.

“He was first-up for a long time at Sale and I thought he ran really well,” Maher said.

“I expect him to improve on that but he has drawn poorly in barrier 13.

“I think he is a progressive horse. He will probably have to take his medicine on the weekend but hopefully he will be there finishing off.”

Mayfair Spirit has been met with some support in early betting, backed from an opening quote of $15 into $10 with TAB fixed odds. Tim Clark has been booked to ride.

Mayfair Spirit is $101 for both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.

Originally published asSpring riches up import Mayfair’s alley

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