“He’s going to run very well in the Melbourne Cup. Now that I’ve had that ride on him I know what to expect. That’s obviously another mountain he’s going to have to climb, but now I’ve had that ride on him I’m pretty confident I know how to get that two miles out of him.”
Maher declared the victory the biggest moment in his training career, among the Caulfield Cup victory with Jameka.
But while he’ll celebrate the victory over the weekend, Sir Dragonet’s Melbourne Cup preparations have already begun.
“He’ll be at the beach in the morning, our vets will go over him this evening, cross the Is and dot the Ts,” Maher said after Saturday’s race.
“It’s already started. That was the main race they bought the horse for, the Melbourne Cup, so as far as I’m concerned the job’s only half done.”
Third-placed favourite Russian Camelot wouldn’t have lost any admirers after his gallant run and trainer Danny O’Brien said he would press on towards the Melbourne Cup with the colt if he pulled up well.
“We’re really proud of him,” O’Brien said of him.
“He had to go forward on what was a pretty hot tempo. Damien gave him a superb ride from that gate.
“All you can ask is that the horse gives his best, albeit he hasn’t won today, that was probably his best performance.
“We’ve always thought we would go to the Melbourne Cup provided we were happy. He’s run out of his skin again today so we’ll see in the next 10 days but at this stage you’ll see him at Flemington on Tuesday week.”
Arcadia Queen knuckled at the 1200-metre mark but found her feet again, only to dash into fifth place, while Aidan O’Brien’s Armory overcame a health scare during the week to finish second to his former stablemate.
Mugatoo was brilliant rounding out the top four, while Fierce Impact and Probabeel weren’t beaten far.
Of the others, three-year-old Grandslam finished last after leading at an unsustainable tempo, Kolding failed in the Melbourne direction once again and Aspetar never felt comfortable on the soft track.
Armory looks likely to run again in the Mackinnon Stakes on the last day of the Melbourne Cup carnival providing all is well with the horse.
Meanwhile, Brett Prebble has been rubbed out for 20 meetings for improper riding and 12 meetings for careless riding, to be served concurrently for his ride on Lunar Fox in race six.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.