The training partnership of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace were making the most of the VOBIS prizemoney on offer when The Closer claimed the VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade at Ballarat.

Taking her record to two wins from three starts with a dominant performance in the $150,000 race, she sat behind the leader before powering clear in the straight.

Maher purchased The Closer at the Melbourne Premier Sale in partnership with Wes Ballantine at $70,000 for part owners, the Ballantine and Stroud Family from Thompsons Creek Thoroughbreds.

Growing up at Thompsons Creek’s Glentree South before her first serious preparation at Gilgai Farm, co-trainer David Eustace is confident that she is a filly with plenty of upside.

“She beat a highly-fancied runner into second place and a $1.2m yearling purchase into third place despite travelling three-wide from a tricky gate.”

“Ciaron has a brilliant record of buying horses off Rick Jamison, and this yearling is no exception. Having seen her at a parade at Gilgai Farm, she was our favourite from the outset. She always had an elegant air about her. She prances rather than walks, dances rather than canters, but she also gallops with an extravagant stride.”

“We recognised that she was from a good family, being from an Elusive Quality mare. She may have just slipped under the radar a bit at the time as she clearly needed to grow and develop. However, Ciaron is more than happy to take time and be patient.”

“Her grandmother, Magical Miss, won at 1300m at two, and also won an Oaks, and that is The Closer’s goal. She will be spelled with a view to stakes races in the autumn, and possibly the Queensland Winter carnival.”

The Closer won on debut at Geelong in July, before stepping up to the Group 3 Red Roses when beaten less than three lengths during the spring carnival.

“She was very good at Flemington. We thought it was a better run than it looked on face value, because we knew she wasn’t a 1100m filly,” Eustace said. “It was well short of her best distance, so it was full of merit.”

“From the day she won her first start at Geelong we thought she was fairly smart,” Eustace said. “She’s stakes class for sure and she probably showed that today. She could get an Oaks trip, she is quite brilliant, and she’s got a turn of foot.”

Eustace was happy to sing the praises of VOBIS after taking home a full wallet after the filly’s victory.

“With the brilliant VOBIS prizemoney on offer, taking home $82,500 for the win, it has already covered her purchase price as a yearling.”

With many VOBIS horses filling the Maher / Eustace boxes, another stable galloper, Deja Doom was a good second in a VOBIS race recently at Pakenham, for owner-breeder-syndicator Ken King.

“We definitely always pay attention to the VOBIS hip sticker at the sales, it a massive incentive for trainers, and now the owners are becoming more educated and aware of the lucrative prizemoney on offer, it is a positive enticement for syndicators when selling shares,” Eustace said.

The Closer’s win is a great thrill for her owners, and being breeders, Eustace will now focus on “getting a stakes-race for her.”

“They are a family run operation, Thompson Creek Thoroughbreds, Wes and Sally Ballantine, and Derek, Wes’s father. Derek won a Blue Diamond in ’79 with Star Shower in the same colours that The Closer wore at Ballarat and is a renowned racing journalist having published several books on thoroughbred pedigrees and mating analysis,” Eustace said.

Based in Barwon Heads, Thomson Creek Thoroughbreds offers excellent infrastructure, enhanced pastures and high-quality fencing, that combines stable facilities, top security, and a 24-hour presence.

“The Closer will certainly be a filly that they retain to join their evolving and advancing broodmare band, and we have no doubt she can get a stakes race to add to her page.”

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