On the cusp of establishing her own stable, Annabel Neasham is hoping to end her tenure under the Maher and Eustace banner on a high when she saddles up Holyfield at Randwick.
Neasham has successfully managed the Warwick Farm base of Victorian co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace over the past two seasons, the operation becoming a growing presence in Sydney.
She will represent the stable for the final time on a Saturday at Randwick when Holyfield resumes in the Group Three Up And Coming Stakes (1300m).
Neasham recently secured boxes at Warwick Farm and will initially have around 10 horses in work.
Maher has travelled up from Victoria and is serving a period in quarantine so he can assist the Sydney stable’s transition when Chris Waller’s former assistant, Jack Bruce, assumes Neasham’s role.
But for now, Neasham’s focus is on Holyfield, who with 59kg will need to set a modern day weight-carrying record to win the Up And Coming Stakes.
Shards, who carted 56kg in 2011, set the current mark under quality handicap conditions.
Along with Away Game and Prague, Holyfield was among the two-year-old stars for Maher and Eustace last season, his three wins highlighted by a Group Three triumph.
The colt finished runner-up in a deep barrier trial last week and Neasham says he appeals as an ideal type for the Caulfield Guineas.
“He has definitely furnished and grown,” Neasham said.
“He looks like a real Guineas sort of horse. He will improve off what he does and he will improve the further he goes, but even so, he should give a good account of himself first up.”
A final field of nine has been accepted for the Up And Coming Stakes with promising Hawkes Racing three-year-old North Pacific opening favourite.
Placed behind Farnan on debut in the Silver Slipper, the colt was in a different league to his rivals to score a return victory at Rosehill in July.
Exciting stablemate Masked Crusader is set to kick off his campaign over 1100m at Randwick.
A winner of three of his four starts, the four-year-old is being touted as a possible wildcard for a slot in The Everest.