Charterhouse wins ‘home’ cup

Declan Bates urges locally-trained Charterhouse to victory in the $500,000 Listed Cranbourne Cup (1600m). 375565 Pictures: ROB CAREW

By David Nagel

Hometown dominance has continued in the $500,00 Listed Ladbrokes Cranbourne Cup (1600m) after Irish-import Charterhouse produced a barnstorming finish to clinch the mile classic on Saturday.

Trained locally by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace at Cranbourne, the six-year-old gelding made it a hat-trick of wins for locals since the Cup was promoted to standalone Saturday status in 2021.

King Magnus ploughed through the mud to give Robbie Griffiths/Matt de Kock their first win in the race in year one, before Uncle Bryn careered away from a strong field to give Trent Busuttin/Natalie Young the spoils last year.

And this year the dominance continued with the five locally-trained horses – Charterhouse, Foxy Cleopatra, Just Folk, Ascension and Euphoric – making a clean sweep of the top-five placings.

The cup looked to be heading to the Maher/Eustace camp with 150 left to run, with Ascencion – a stablemate of Charterhouse – having a clear break as the horses headed for home.

But Charterhouse and race-favourite Foxy Cleopatra found top-gear in the straight; gathering the compounding leader in the shadows of the post.

Ridden by the in-form Declan Bates, Charterhouse ($16) won by a long neck on the line, with Foxy Cleopatra ($3.90) brave in defeat; going close to giving the Busuttin/Young stable back-to-back wins in the race.

Just Folk ($7) finished a length back in third, with Ascension and Euphoric close up in fourth and fifth place respectively.

A Listed winner in Ireland over a mile, Charterhouse was having his fifth start in Australia for the Maher/Eustace team on Saturday.

He ran encouraging placings at Flemington in June and July this year, before a close up sixth in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) at headquarters in mid-September.

The son of Charming Thought/Crocus Rose then ran down the track behind Attrition in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on 14 October at Caulfield.

He had six weeks between runs heading in to his weekend assignment.

Stable representative for the Maher/Eustace camp, Jack Turnbull, said it was a great team effort to turn the horse’s form around.

“A massive team effort,” Turnbull began.

“The horse has been in good form, but he’s had a chequered prep, to say the least.

“He’s had a bad blood, he stepped on a plate, so we’ve been pushing and persevering saying the horse is going well, but at the end of the day, you need the results and we got that.

“The rain came and he relished the mile.”

Turnbull said there were positive signs as Charterhouse headed to cup day.

“We knew he was doing what we wanted him to do at home,” he said.

“He went from running over six (furlongs) down the straight and running admirably, but probably found that too sharp, and then fitness wise, second time at the mile, we were right up to the mark today.”

Bates was one of the great success stories of the recent Flemington Melbourne Cup Carnival, piloting the Maher/Eustace-trained Pride Of Jenni to dual Group 1 wins.

Bates was grateful that a hot tempo gave his mount some time to settle.

“I was hoping to land midfield with a bit of cover, but he came out travelling a bit strong so I wanted to make sure I got cover to make sure he dropped the bit,” Bates explained.

“I probably had to come back further than ideal to do that, but the tempo was good enough and he just travelled so well wherever I went.

“From where we were in the field, it was a good win.”

The Maher/Eustace stable capped off a successful day at ‘home’ when promising four-year-old gelding Jimmysstar saluted in the last race on the card, giving the team a race-to-race double.

Racing next returns to Cranbourne on Friday 15 December.