Maher-trained mares in Caulfield return

MELBOURNE Aug 8 2016

Ciaron Maher will kick off the spring campaigns of two of the stable's quality mares in a stakes race at Caulfield.

Set Square and Jameka, winners of the past two VRC Oaks, are to resume in the Group Two P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.

The pair took a step forward in their preparations in a 990m trial at Cranbourne on Monday.

Jameka, with Luke Nolen aboard, won the trial from Iconic while Set Square, under Nick Hall, finished fourth.

Maher was happy with their performances and more importantly their recovery after the hit-outs.

"It's a trip away from home, a nice surface and a chance to open them up a little bit," Maher said.

He said Jameka was a little more advanced than her stablemate but both were ready to make their reappearance.

Jameka hasn't raced since finishing fourth behind Sofia Rosa in the ATC Australian Oaks, a week after finishing second to Tavago in the Australian Derby at Randwick in April.

"We just wanted to give her a nice working gallop and that's what she had," Maher said.

"She jumped, she travelled well and looked to let down nicely.

"Her goals are still later in the spring but she's come back well and her recovery was good and she looks right to go."

Melbourne's reigning premier jockey Craig Williams has been booked for the ride.

Set Square has not raced since finishing fifth in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington last spring.

Maher wasn't entirely happy with Set Square's action last spring and opted to give her a long break.

"Physically she's come up really well and her coat has started to drop off in the last couple of weeks," Maher said.

"She looks to the eye to be a stronger, more mature horse this time around.

"We'll just try and get her to relax and maybe the Caulfield Cup may be her aim this year."

Maher said Luke Nolen was likely to ride on Saturday.

The two Maher mares are among 17 nominations for Saturday's race which also include Awesome Rock, Lord Of The Sky, Mahuta, Miss Rose De Lago, Nevis, Suavito, Tall Ship and The Cleaner.

Craig Brennan - AAP

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