Money Maher confirmed he will be a major player in the Group 2 WA Derby (2400m) after posting a fighting win in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
It was the second leg of a feature double for Money Maher, who enters next fortnights three-year-old staying classic in top form after winning the Listed Roberts Stakes (1800m).
Given a flawless ride from Jarrad Noske, Money Maher, prepared by brothers Dan and Ben Pearce, settled ideally in fourth position and one off the fence.
Money Maher took the lead from The Big Show at the 150m and then held at bay a spirited challenge from runner-up Sentimental Friend, scoring by a neck.
The Big Show held on for third, ahead of Media Baron and Action, who rattled home for fifth, beaten 3 ½ lengths, after being held up on straightening.
Dan Pearce said Money Maher showed that he was on track for the WA Derby on April 21.
“The most pleasing thing was that when he was challenged he fought and found something to the end,” Dan said.
Noske, who capped a fine day for his family, said Money Maher would have no problem handing the extra distance in the Derby.
“That was the best he has ever jumped out of the barriers and he put himself right there,” Noske said.
“He is a true stayer because he ran right through the line, so credit to him.
“He is putting it all together and getting better each time.
“I’m stoked and pretty confident going forward.”
Noske completed a sibling feature race-to-race double after his sister, Jerry, guided Mizlecki to victory in the Listed Raconteur Stakes (1500m).
Saving the Fred Kersley-trained filly for one final run, Mizleki launched an electrifying sprint in the final 150m.