Connections of The Closer celebrate after winning the Polytrack VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade ,at Sportsbet-Ballarat Racecourse on November 24, 2018 in Ballarat, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)
Ballarat Cup Day played host to the second leg of the VOBIS Premier Race Series on Saturday, 24 November, and it was the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained The Closer who stormed home to win the VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade (1400m) to secure a large slice of the $180,000 worth of prizemoney and bonuses.
It was the lightly-raced three-year-old filly’s second win from only three career starts, and another impressive ride from in-from jockey Linda Meech who has established a great connection with the horse.
The Closer won on debut at Geelong in July, then returned from a spell and was unplaced in the Group 3 Red Roses Stakes (1100m) at Flemington during the recent Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The connections of the $70,000 Inglis Melbourne Premier purchase pocketed close to $100,000 for their win, reaping the benefits of Victoria’s owners and breeders’ incentive scheme.
The Closer settled in behind the lead before striding clear in the straight to win by 2 ¾ lengths from the Tony McEvoy-trained favourite Winning Partner and John McArdle’s Bricktop.
Speaking to Racing.com post-race, Eustace said the filly was an exciting prospect for the stable.
“Really from the day she won her first start at Geelong, we always thought she was pretty smart because she wasn’t really ready and was fairly undercooked,” Eustace said.
“She’s stakes class for sure. She probably showed that today anyway.”
Eustace said The Closer would now likely be given a break, with the aim of targeting the Festival of Racing or Queensland’s winter carnival.
"We'll pop her away, have three weeks off and look towards the autumn. The owners are breeders so it will be all about getting a stakes race for her, and no doubt she can,” Eustace told RSN on Sunday following the win.”
The Closer is the daughter of up-and-coming sire Dundeel, who has produced some good results so far for the Maher-Eustace partnership.
“We’ve had a lot of success with them (the Dundeels),” he said.
“We’ve won three races and the other one has been placed, so we think he's going to be a very good sire for us," Eustace said.
“His stats are very good and they will continue to improve as his progeny head to stakes class.”
The Closer is also the second foal of the mare Miss Evasive, a daughter of the multiple Group 1 winner Magical Miss.
The next race in the series will be held this Saturday, 8 December at Pakenham where four-year-olds and over will compete for the $180,000 VOBIS Gold Bullion (1400m).