Successive Australian Hurdle wins for Saunter Boy

Declan Maher shed a tear after Saunter Boy recorded back-to-back victories in the Australian Hurdle with a dashing display of jumping at Sandown.

One of the keys players in the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable, Declan is the driving force behind the large team of jumpers the stable has in work.

Saunter Boy is one of his favourites, registering his eighth win from 11 hurdle jumps races while Sunday’s victory in the Australian Hurdletook his prize money to more than $500,000.

Ridden by Steven Pateman, Saunter Boy, the $2.60 favourite, scored by nine lengths from Tamarack ($20) with Zedstar ($26) a further three-quarters-of-a-length away third.

Declan Maher rode all 12 jumps with Pateman over the 3900m course as he watched the rising 10-year-old clear away from his rivals over the last 600m.

“Especially the last couple I was rocking with him,” Maher said.

“A lot of work goes into these horses as he came into work last September.

“I can’t help myself when I get a bit of a tear happening. To see him striding out like that up the straight at Sandown in the sunshine, it doesn’t get much better.

“It shows you how good this racetrack is. It’s a beautiful track to have jumps racing on.”

Maher said he felt for Willie McCarthy, who rode fourth-placed Brungle Bertie.

McCarthy is an integral part of the Maher and Eustace stable and rides Saunter Boy each morning.

The win by Saunter Boy completed a race-to-race double for Pateman having scored on Blandford Lad in the Ladbroke It! Hurdle (3400m) a race earlier.

Pateman is unbeaten on the jumper this campaign scoring feature wins at Pakenham and Warrnambool prior to Sunday’s success.

“He’s easily one of the best that I’ve ridden,” Pateman said.

“He’s getting easier to ride. He’s doing everything right. He’s jumping great and he’s in the right camp.”

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