Money Maher’s path towards black-type races in the winter gathers momentum in the Tabtouch-Better Your Bet Handicap (1600m) at Belmont on Saturday.
The Dan and Ben Pearce-trained four-year-old is hot favourite to make it two wins from as many starts after making a successful return three weeks ago.
At his first start in 12-months after an injury setback, Money Maher made a sweeping run from near last and bolted in to win by 2 ¼ lengths over 1400m.
Money Maher was off the scene for a year after suffering a suspensory injury in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville.
The son of Al Maher earned a trip to Adelaide after winning three Listed races last season, the Fairetha Stakes (1400m), the Roberts Stakes (1800m) and Melvista Stakes (2200m).
Money Maher confronts a field of eight runners second-up and will jump from barrier five. Regular rider Jarrad Noske retains the mount.
“It looks like he is in for a good prep and hopefully he can do the same again tomorrow (Saturday),” Noske told Tabradio.
“He feels the same and definitely hasn’t gone backwards. He’s not the greatest worker, but saves it for race day.
“I don’t think the step up to 1600m will bother him as he settles really good in his races now.
“I will be riding him quiet early and hopefully staying out of trouble by coming down the outside.
“Hopefully he can do the rest for me.”
The Hyperion Stakes (1600m) on June 15 and the Strickland Stakes (2000m) a fortnight later loom as potential targets for Money Maher after Saturday.
Noske rates Money Maher as his best winning opportunity. He has also been booked to ride Essential Spice, West Fifty Fourth, Hillbert and Special Delivery.
Money Maher is the $2.25 market leader, ahead of Vital Silver ($4.40), Mrs Brown’s Boy ($5.50), Majinika ($7) and Friaresque ($8).