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Canterbury launch for Maher import

Half-brother to Mornington Cup winner to make Aussie debut on Wednesday

Crystal Pegasus winning the Mornington Cup at Mornington in Australia.
Crystal Pegasus winning the Mornington Cup at Mornington in Australia. Picture: Racing Photos

Ciaron Maher demonstrated his affinity with European stayers when Circle Of Fire won last Saturday's Sydney Cup and on Wednesday at Canterbury the star trainer will unveil another Northern Hemisphere recruit.

Kings Valley will make his Australian debut in the 1550-metre Hyland Race Colours 3YO Maiden that kicks off the card.

It is an appropriate week to unveil the son of Territories, who is a half-brother to Crystal Pegasus, winner of the 2022 Mornington Cup.

That $300,000 Listed event will be run in Victoria this weekend.

Kings Valley is a while off being set for anything like a Mornington Cup, having only turned three on March 29 and being around six months younger than his Australian-bred rivals, but opportunities like Wednesday's were part of his appeal as an Australian racing prospect.

"In Sydney now we have the Super Maidens and they are worth $100,000 and so, hopefully, (a win) would pay for the plane ride and we also have a horse who can go through the grades," Maher's bloodstock manager Will Bourne said soon after purchasing Kings Valley.

The gelding cost 140,000gns – about AU$285,000 – at last year's Autumn Horses In Training Sale, having earlier been bought by Ollie Sangster for 65,000gns ($132,000) as a yearling.

Kings Valley is out of the Dansili mare Crystal Etoile, whose four others to race are all winners.

Crystal Pegasus is the best of them to date, having won the Listed Roy Higgins Quality the start before his Mornington Cup success, while he later placed in the Group 3 Archer Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day.

Kings Valley had four starts in England while in the care of Sangster for two minor placings over 1408m at Sandown.

His preparations for his Australian debut have included an 800m Bendigo jumpout and a 1030m Rosehill trial on March 18, in which he finished sixth after being given an easy time of things.

"He is a progressive type and, going from two to three we think he will get out over further," Bourne said.

"He is a very good-looking animal, who is very light on his feet and very athletic."

Kings Valley has drawn the outside alley in Wednesday's field of eight with Tyler Schiller to take the ride.

Racing and Sports