Could this be the new lethal combination?
Breeder Gilgai Farm, trainer Ciaron Maher and a filly on offer at the Inglis Premier Yearling sale?
It worked at the 2014 version of the sale with the Caulfield based trainer buying Jameka off Gilgai. She has gone on to win three Group 1 races and $4.8 million (so far).
Now Maher has another filly bred at the famed Nagambie farm that also appears to have immense talent and may, like Jameka, be given a shot at the VRC Oaks in November.
Gilgai bred The Closer (Dundeel) was ultra-impressive in winning on debut in a two-year-old fillies race over 1350 metres at Geelong last week.
With Maher in hospital with a broken leg following a fall off Jameka last week, Assistant Trainer David Eustace was at Geelong to watch the filly and commented post-race that “she was a filly that Ciaron really liked.”
“He has been very patient with her. She was going really well last prep but it was decided to give her a break and it’s all coming to fruition now,” Eustace said.
“She’s got a big action and she’s very athletic, but she still has plenty of furnishing to do so we are hopeful she will get over a bit of ground and up in class.”
Following in the footsteps of Jameka, The Closer was purchased by Maher and stable client Wes Ballantine for $70,000 out of the Gilgai Farm draft at the 2017 Premier Yearling Sale.
Ballantine and his family own and operate the new breeding operation Thompson’s Creek farm near Modewarre, just past Geelong.
Maher’s Client Relations and Bloodstock Manager Brian McGuire remembers taking the time during pre-sale inspections at Gilgai to get to know the filly.
“She took our eye when we visited the farm early in her preparation, and we were impressed with how she continued to develop and grow,” McGuire said.
The Closer is the second living foal of the Sandown winning Elusive Quality (USA) mare Miss Evasive, a daughter of the brilliant Group 1 VRC Oaks and Group 1 VATC Thousand Guineas winner Magical Miss (Danehill).
“We loved her female family and it’s a good rule of thumb, that daughters of very good race mares are good producers. She represented enormous value at that price, especially as she was a clean as a whistle and Gilgai are renowned breeders of successful racehorses,” McGuire said.
“Ciaron will be patient and reap the rewards, as being from an Oaks winning family, she will also head down the Oaks trial.”
Gilgai Farm manager Kelly Skillecorn was thrilled that his self-proclaimed “bargain” of the sale has ended up in the right hands.
“She did all the right things during her prep, and she caught the eye of the best trainer possible. At least if she didn’t make the money we had hoped, she landed in the best possible stable to fulfil her potential on the track,” Skillecorn said.
“We did expect to get more than that for her, coming from such a beautifully preformed female family.
“Interestingly we also offered (at the 2017 Premier Sale) her close relation, now called Yulong Meteor, who incredibly only made $50,000 in the ring She was by Medaglia d’Oro, out of the stakes placed mare Joie, and Maher is now training her as well.
“Both look to be stakes winning quality fillies, possibly worth an few hundred each, and he has them in the stable for $120,000 combined. We just gave them away.”
“At least when they get knocked down to him (Maher), you know they are not going to get a better chance anywhere. He made Jameka, he made (the dam) Mine Game, and he will make these two sisters, and our mares will still get the pedigree updates that that deserve.”