Ciaron Maher will temporarily put mateship aside when Magic Millions winner Away Game attempts to upstage odds-on pop Isotope in the Listed Gold Edition Plate at Doomben.
Maher and Isotope’s trainer Tony Gollan have a long-standing friendship but there will be no room for sentiment when they go head-to-head on Saturday with their fillies who dominate pre-post betting.
“He’s a good mate of mine, Tony, and a good bloke so it’ll be a bit of healthy competition and hopefully we can come out on top,” Maher said.
Away Game was a revelation in Queensland 12 months ago when she won the Calaway Gal Stakes at Doomben before adding the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast as a $41 outsider.
She then returned to Melbourne where she finished fourth in the Blue Diamond Stakes before heading to Sydney and finishing runner-up to Farnan in the Golden Slipper.
The filly then won the Percy Sykes Stakes at Randwick before a fifth against the older fillies and mares in the Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville at the final start of a busy campaign.
Away Game suffered a setback on the eve of the Group One Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley in September, forcing Maher and his training partner David Eustace to pause her campaign and aim her towards Queensland.
“I was always going to give her a light spring but she just came up with an elevated temperature before the Moir so we backed off her and let her tick over,” Maher said.
“She’s back in Queensland where she loves it.”
Maher is not concerned by the prospect of rain-affected conditions at Doomben.
“She’s got good form in the wet,” he said.
“She’s a neat, long, speedy filly that is probably built for the Gold Coast but she’s built for any track really.
“I know the weather has been pretty damp up there in the past week. Put it this way, I wouldn’t swap her for anything else in the race.”
Away Game will be ridden by Glen Boss and is a $4 second favourite for the Gold Edition Plate (1200m) with Isotope a $1.80 favourite with TAB fixed odds.
Boss is no stranger to the filly having ridden her in the Slipper and Percy Sykes.