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Loving Gaby on course for Everest as Phoenix’s Maher stars return


Phoenix Thoroughbreds are considering a tilt at the Everest with Loving Gaby, as their two-time Group One winner Loving Gaby returns to training with Maher/Eustace team, alongside co-owned stars Prague and Holyfield.

The daughter of I Am Invincible landed both the Manikato and William Reid Stakes during her last preparation, building on an undeniable stellar juvenile season. Now rising four, co-trainer Ciaron Maher feels she could be even better this time around.

“She’s unbelievable,” said Maher. “She was 600 kilos and when she came out of the paddock she looked like she’d had a months work! She had a nice covering of condition on her. She’s such a powerful mare.

“I think she could be even better again this prep. She’s such a tall horse and as a three-year-old she was, in most of her weight for age races, the biggest hose in the line-up and I think she has furnished again, she’s a very exciting horse. The main aims for her are the Everest and the Eagle.”

Also back under his and David Eustace’s supervision is two-time Group Three winner and Sire’s Produce second Prague. Owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds alongside Aquis, the Redoute’s Choice colt is also expected to improve upon his last campaign.

Loving Gaby win the Group One Wiliam Reid Stakes

“He always does extremely well in work, so he looks very similar to the start for his last preparation,” explained Maher. “He always was a strong physical type and he looks to have developed even more.

“I think what he did in his two-year-old season was all on raw ability, I don’t think the penny had fully dropped with him, so I’m very excited about the prospects for him. Having been so raw while doing so well, I think he’ll improve no end mentally. All being well, the San Dominico might be a nice starting point for him.”

Having shown plenty of ability in winning his pair of Group races and going so close at the highest level, it’s clear that grabbing that elusive Group One will be top of the agenda with Maher adding:

“He has a stallion’s pedigree, he’s by a super sire and I think he was quite sharp last time around so we can’t wait to start putting him through his paces. I think a race like the Golden Rose would be an early aim for him. I think at that distance he was very good last prep and he’ll be even better this time around.”

The Phoenix/Aquis axis can also look forward to a potentially exciting campaign with I Am Invincible colt Holyfield. He too picked up Group Three honours, as part of a trio of victories, and he’ll have big race targets over 1600m.

“He’s wintered really well and he looks super.” Maher said. “He was always strong physically and we got a lot of confidence into him during the last prep. I think he’ll really come on for that and he could be a Guineas horses, which is his main aim.”