Ciaron Maher discovered the thrill of Group 1 success in 2007, less than three years into his training career. That was the day Tears I Cry won the VRC Emirates Stakes at Flemington. Black type races have flowed since then, Srikandi winning the AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (Group 1) at Doomben and the Sky Racing Tatts Club Tiara (Group 1) at the Gold Coast, Set Square winning the Crown Oaks (Group 1) at Flemington in 2014 with Jameka making it an Oaks double in 2015.
There have been others, including Moudre and the rising star filly Petits Filous, as well victories by a wide range of sprinters and stayers at 53 racetracks in four states. Confirming Ciaron’s credentials as a versatile trainer are Al Gahood, winner of back-to-back Grand Annuals at Warrnambool, Regina Coeli, who followed in Al Gahood’s footsteps to also win the Grand Annual, and Bashboy, remarkable winner of the Grand National Steeplechase three times, amassing more than $1 million.
Ciaron took his first tentative steps in racing as a teenager, working with a trainer after school each day. He was an apprentice jockey with Peter Hayes in Adelaide and Melbourne before becoming an accomplished jumps jockey, competing in Australia versus Ireland jockey challenges and riding in England, Ireland and Dubai.
In 2005 he established himself as a trainer in Warrnambool, home of jumps racing. His first winner was Spectacular Storm in a hurdle race at Terang, followed up smartly by another win at Sandown. The stage was set for a successful career not only in jumps racing, but also on the flat as the stable grew. Ciaron has since moved to Caulfield, where he has expansive stables on the course. He has retained facilities in Warrnambool, which suit horses in need of a country setting, and has secured new premises at Randwick. At his property in Pakenham, on the edge of Melbourne’s suburbs, he has agistment and pre-training facilities.
Ciaron had spectacular success in 2015 with Srikandi, who has won in excess of $2 million, and his Oaks winner, Set Square, as well as the evergreen Bashboy. He has a number of promising young horses, including Petits Filous, already a winner at Group 3 level, and barely a week goes by without a Maher-trained winner in Victoria.
A young trainer with an eye for picking winning prospects at yearling sales, he has built a stable of loyal owners as well as successful horses. He welcomes first-time owners as well as experienced racing hands. He is regarded as hard-working, thoughtful and, above all, patient. His promise is that every horse will be given every chance to develop its full potential.
As one of his owners has commented: “Ciaron is the true horse whisperer.