Jameka On Target For Australian Cup

Jameka prior to the Peter Young Stakes. Photo courtesy of Geo Hillis Photography.

Jameka prior to the Peter Young Stakes. Photo courtesy of Geo Hillis Photography.

Not since champion Makybe Diva more than a decade ago has a mare won the Australian Cup but trainer Ciaron Maher wouldn't swap Jameka for any other horse in this year's race.

The Caulfield Cup winner is one of two mares in Saturday's weight-for-age Group One 2000m-feature at Flemington, along with Real Love.

Six mares have won the race since 1964 with Makybe Diva the most recent in 2005.

The Australian Cup is the first major target for Jameka this preparation and she goes into the race after finishing fourth in the C F Orr Stakes and Peter Young Stakes.

"I think she will have taken nice improvement out of her last start and out to the 2000 metres, usually third-up she normally improves and starts to hit her form," Maher said.

While he said there might be a little improvement to come getting to her pet distance of 2400m in The BMW in Sydney later this month, Maher said the four-year-old was pretty close to her peak for Saturday.

"These are her two target races, the Australian Cup and the BMW, so she looks to be on track," Maher said.

Jameka was a dominant winner of the Naturalism Stakes over 2000m third-up last campaign and has joined Humidor on the top line of Australian Cup betting at $4.20.

Maher rates Humidor as the toughest to beat in an open field.

"You could throw a blanket over the field. There's a number of chances there, but I'm very happy with her and I wouldn't swap her," Maher said.

Hugh Bowman, who rides Jameka for the first time, has barrier 11 to contend with which Maher said wasn't ideal.

"We haven't fully worked out the speed map yet," he said.

"I think they said yesterday they wanted to go forward with Tom Melbourne so that probably injects a bit of speed into the race.

"So most likely we'll probably have to go back and come with a run but we've still got a little bit more work to do there."

Jameka is slated for an international campaign this year so long as her form warrants it.

"This race and then The BMW are her target races and then we'll look at the QEII Cup in Hong Kong," Maher said.

"It's 2000 metres and then we'll look to go over to Europe. But that's providing she's still racing well.

"We want to go over there and be competitive, not just go over there and compete."

By Mathew Toogood

MELBOURNE, March 9 AAP