Inside the Stables: Exploring Ciaron Maher Racing
A Leading Force in Australian Horse Racing
The 2022 Melbourne Cup-winning team of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace has experienced a meteoric rise since the establishment of Ciaron Maher Racing (CMR) in 2006. The team has dominated the Australian Racing scene in the last 10 years, winning 3 of the 4 Australian majors as well as triumphing abroad with Merchant Navy in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The team have held strong in the top two positions of the Australian Trainers Championship for the last 5 years, including back-to-back wins in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons. In that time amassing over $80M in prizemoney for their respective owners.
Explore the backstories, training techniques, excellent facilities and game-changing technology the team utilises. Discover the team’s best horses, greatest achievements and ongoing effort to support a variety of charities as well as their focus on fostering the careers of the next generation.
Meet Ciaron Maher and David Eustace
Ciaron Maher is the Head Trainer of Ciaron Maher Racing (CMR) having initially entered the industry as an apprentice to C.S Hayes and as a jumps jockey. After growing out of the saddle, Maher gained experience with the likes of Bart Cummings, Aiden O’Brien and Willie Mullins before founding Ciaron Maher Racing in 2005/06. Commencing with 6 boxes on his dad’s farm, the team grew quickly following the acquisition of Peter Moody and Darren Weir’s stables in 2015. This was proceeded by David Eustace’s partnership in 2018 and the team has continued the upward spiral ever since.
David Eustace is the son of Newmarket trainer James Eustace, growing up in the UK’s horse racing capital, David made the move to Australia in his early 20s where he gained experience with Team Snowden and Moody Racing. Following 2 years as an assistant trainer at Ciaron Maher Racing, Eustace was promoted to co-head trainer at the start of the 2018/19 season.
The team’s attention to detail and commitment to each individual horse has seen them win an array of the greatest races in Australia, including the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup. Overall Ciaron Maher Racing has succeeded 38 times at Group 1 level following Griff’s win in the Caulfield Guineas in October.
Revolutionising Horse Training: Tradition Meets Technology at Ciaron Maher Racing
Discover the innovative training methods employed at Ciaron Maher Racing, where traditional horsemanship intertwines seamlessly with cutting-edge technology. With multiple training sites, including the latest addition at Bong Bong Farm, CMR utilises GPS, heart rate tracking, and genetic testing to optimize each horse’s performance, the team at CMR strive to create an environment that brings out the best in their equine athletes.
Training Facilities and Techniques
The team have 8 training locations across the Eastern seaboard, highlighted by their newest property at Bong Bong farm in the Southern Highlands of Sydney. Whilst their Ballarat and Warwick Farm stables house their best horses when in training.
Ciaron Maher Racing has grown exponentially over the past 8 years, a testament to the discipline and focus on detail by Maher himself, who has grown a 10-horse yard into the largest stable in Australia, with approximately 900 horses registered to their company. The team utilises a variety of traditional and modern training techniques with an emphasis on technology and statistics, a key indicator towards the consistency of the stable.
GPS and heart rate tracking allows the team to digitally track recovery and physical output, whilst also allowing the team to track speed, distance and stride frequency. Genetic testing and consistently monitored KPIs allow the team to specifically place each individual horse.
Genetic testing allows the team to assess optimal racing distance, whilst KPIs allow the team to acknowledge the level of the horse and when it is ready to race. Nutt goes on to discuss the depth in which the team are investing in this data and the results that have eventuated “We have a team in Melbourne that analyses all of our data from races, gallops and trials. They’re looking at speeds, sectionals, recovery and locomotion, we need to make sure that is aligned with where the horse is expecting to be and what the trainers are seeing visually and that’s most definitely helped both our training and decrease in injury. Furthermore, gene testing allows us to look at a horse’s pedigree and compare that with the horse in front of us to determine their ideal racing distance”.
Maher’s commitment to using traditional techniques compliments their investment in modern technology. The team utilises a variety of hill tracks, luxurious stable facilities and beach access which allows for physical and mental stimulation. The team focuses on creating an environment where horses want to naturally be active and promote physical output. This allows for the prolonging of the racing campaign and maximisation of physical ability.
Record and Achievements
Since the team’s first winner, Spectacular Storm in 2005, CMR Racing has amassed over $155M in prizemoney for its owners with over 2000 individual race wins, with 38 at the top level, most recently scoring with Griff in the Caulfield Guineas. They have an incredible place percentage of 42% and a winning percentage of 17%.
Maher and Eustace’s Top 5 Horses Ever
Jameka – Caulfield Cup heroine who also won the BMW and the Oaks, dominating over a mile and a half at Group 1 level. Winning over $4.8M.
Gold Trip – A serious European racehorse placed 4th in the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe before jetting to Australia and becoming the team’s first-ever Melbourne Cup winner following a gallant second placing in the Caulfield Cup. Returned the following Spring with a win in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes defeating Romantic Warrior.
Sir Dragonet – Another European import who went to another level when joining the CMR Team. A brilliant winner of the coveted Cox Plate followed by a win in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes the following Autumn.
Hitotsu – 3-time classic winning colt, triumphing in the Victorian and Australian Derby’s as well as saluting in the Australian Guineas. The first horse to do the Guineas Derby Double since Mahogany in 1994.
Coolangatta – Multiple Group 1 winner sprinter, winning the Lightning Stakes and Moir Stakes as well as the Magic Millions at 2.
Ciaron has also deservedly gained a reputation as a shrewd purchaser of horses:
- Petits Filous (purchased for $65,000 and sold for $1.15 million) – Group 3 winner
- Global Exchange (purchased for $130,000 and sold for $1.4 million) – Group 2 winner
- Jameka (purchased for $130,000 and sold for $2.6 million) – three-time Group 1 winner including the Caulfield Cup and $4.87 million in prizemoney
- Merchant Navy (purchased for $350,000 and sold for $27 million) – dual Group 1 winner including the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in England and $2 million in prizemoney.
- Coolangatta (purchased for $280,000, sold privately to Coolmore for an estimated $5M) – winner of the 2022 Gold Coast Magic Millions
Contributions to the Industry
The team at Ciaron Maher Racing are constantly on the search for new ways the business can have a positive influence. With consistent efforts to advance the racing industry as well as connecting with a number of charities such as Prostate Cancer Charity, Rule.
The team at CMR are constantly developing new talent from within their ranks, recent assistant trainers to graduate out of the CMR system are Annabel Neasham, Jack Bruce and Lucy Yeomans. The stable has also had a variety of apprentice jockeys gain experience with CMR before venturing out to be free-lance jockeys in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
The Maher and Eustace team have partnered with Men’s Prostate Cancer Charity Rule. The Australian Prostate Centre began as a research facility in 2012, collaborating with institutions around the world to advance the treatment of prostate cancer. In 2014, they opened the doors to their North Melbourne clinic based in Melbourne’s biomedical precinct. Since then, they have successfully treated over 25,000 men. https://www.ruleprostatecancer.org.au
The team have also set up Racing Hearts which offers Equine Assisted Therapy programs to groups and individuals. Racing Hearts is the first organisation of its kind in Australia, offering retired racehorses a new lease on life through retraining and integration into equine-assisted therapy programs for humans, catering to over 200 people per week in the local Mornington community. https://www.racinghearts.com.au
The precision and detail displayed by the Ciaron Maher Racing team, as well as the pristine and high-quality training facilities and techniques the team utilises, create an environment where horses thrive. The experience the team holds creates opportunities for owners, employees and horses to thrive on and off-track. This combination is what creates an abundance of success for the racing operation, which this season will look to take out a third straight Australian Trainers Championship.