Co-trainer Ben Pearce is hopeful a gear change can give Money Maher an edge when he steps up to Group 1 company in the South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on Saturday.

The quality colt will be looking to bounce back and regain lost pride after he had his colours lowered in Group 2 WA Derby (2400m) at Ascot on April 21, finishing 5 ¼ lengths from Action.

The WA Derby loss denied Money Maher a winning hat trick after he underlined his talent by winning the Listed J.C.Roberts Stakes (1800m) and Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m).

“We put the blinkers on him when he won the Roberts and the Melvista,” Pearce said on Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.

“We thought in the Melvista he did get a little keen at stages and in the Derby he got hard on the steel.

“We’ve decided to take the blinkers off him in an effort to get him to settle better throughout the run.”

Despite being well beaten in the WA Derby Pearce is optimistic Money Maher can step up to the top level and believes the son of Al Maher deserves his shot at Group 1 success.

Money Maher, a winner of five of 16 starts, has spent the past week based at Darren Weir’s Warrnambool’s stables and will be floated to Morphettville on Wednesday.

Pearce, who prepares Money Maher in partnership with brother Dan, said Money Maher had thrived and improved in a new environment since his WA Derby run.

“He is well and has had plenty of time to settle in,” Pearce said.

“I gave him a gallop on the course proper at Warrnambool on Saturday and he worked really nice.

“I reckon he is enjoying himself and seems to have brightened up.

“The guys here at the stable think he has come on a lot since he has been here.

“He seems really bright and happy.”

Pearce said a favourable barrier draw would go a long way to boosting Money Maher’s chances in the South Australian Derby.

“I think the barrier is crucial for him,” Pearce said.

“If you go back to his stakes races he has won he has drawn well in all of them.

“So we will be crossing our fingers hoping for a barrier.”

Gun local jokey Jarrad Noske, who received a 10-day ban for careless riding at Pinjarra last week, will commence his suspension after riding Money Maher in the SA Derby.

Julio Santatelli