Ciaron Maher to train wondermare Winx's half-sister Courchevel
Winx's younger half-sister has found a home in Victoria, with Ciaron Maher unveiled as the trainer of the prize filly named Courchevel.
The rising two-year-old is also the first of Vegas Showgirl's progeny that breeder John Camilleri has opted not to sell, and Maher explained how she came to be in his care.
"Over the last six months I've had a bit of time on my hands, I drove up to the Magic Millions Yearling Sale and I came back through Segenhoe in the Hunter Valley," Maher told Racing.com on Wednesday.
"I'd seen all of John Camilleri's horses about three times in the past six months, so I asked him if I was able to train her.
"He sort of 'ummed' and 'ahhed' a little bit and eventually he said 'yes you can'.
"I'm rapt to be able to get her, a horse of that calibre, and I can't wait to see what she can do really.
"I hope there is a big boom when we let her off the bridle [for the first time], I'm really excited to have her in the stable."
Maher had visited Courchevel at Segenhoe on several occasions and says he has been astonished by her physical development to this point.
"I first saw her about six months ago or even longer, and she was fairly immature and leggy, and over the last six months it's now a totally different horse, she's really developed into a lovely horse and she's quite a big strong filly now," he added.
"The improvement that she has made is quite extraordinary, you don't usually see them change and develop this much."
Assistant trainer Dave Eustace believes she's found the perfect home at Ciaron Maher Racing and explains what the next few months will entail.
"She's Ciaron's style of horse, she's got loads of scope and has a great walk," Eustace said.
"She's a tall, scopey filly with loads of length, not really similar to her full brother [El Divino].
"She was raised at Segenhoe, she was broken in up there in New South Wales and has had a break since then.
"She has now come down and had a week's pre-training at our farm and she'll be arriving at Caulfield next week.
"She looks as though she may need some time and probably the spring on her back, but they can always surprise you.
"She's by a sire that can obviously get an early runner as well so you wouldn't write her off as a two-year-old at all but we'd think she'll come into her own as a spring three-year-old."
Both Maher and Eustace say they are ready for the hype and attention that is guaranteed to come with training a filly like her, and are hoping she can live up to expectation.
"It was a real buzz to hear that she was coming to Caulfield because she's related the best racehorse in the world, we've no doubt about that, so it's an honour for everyone to have her here," Maher said.
"Hopefully she's got half the ability as her older sister and we'll have some fun."