For a partnership that has scaled the heights of Australian racing, there was an almost inconspicuous finale to the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace co-training era.

As metropolitan racing across the eastern seaboard came to an end on Saturday, so did the all-conquering alliance between Maher and Eustace.

Alas, their last runner as a partnership - sent out in a NSW provincial race - couldn’t add to the three winners they enjoyed across two states during the afternoon.

Rather than dwell on the low-key nature of how it ended, the last hour of their time as co-trainers gave an appropriate insight into the rapid expansion of their business.

It revealed a snapshot of how the stable has spread its reach so much faster than any other Australian operation in recent years.

They provided the minor placegetters in the Group 2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley, saddled up a runner in a $NZ1 million race at Ellerslie and signed off when Command Approved led to the dying stages before missing a place in a benchmark race at Newcastle.

But as has been their way most Saturdays, there were winners to celebrate among 12 starters across five racetracks.

Socks Nation won at Moonee Valley, Glory Daze did the right thing at Randwick and for the trivia buffs in years to come, a first starter called Shut Eye will be the last of their 1568 winners after landing the prize at Moe in country Victoria.

Made by Maher, Eustace now set to fulfil destiny in racing’s cauldron
The confirmation that David Eustace will take up a trainer’s contract in Hong Kong poses two key questions, writes Bren O’Brien.

British-born Eustace will join the Hong Kong training ranks for the 2024/25 season having left an indelible mark on Australian racing in 5-1/2 years as Maher’s training partner.

Since the 32-year-old’s elevation from an assistant to co-trainer for the start of the 2018/19 season, Ciaron Maher Racing has been an unstoppable force.

The stable sent out 188 winners from 1172 starters in their first 12 months together but as the yard got bigger, so did the numbers.

Backed by a scientific and data-led approach to training, they had 347 winners last season from 1891 runners to claim the national premiership, matching and surpassing champion trainer Chris Waller for ammunition and results.

Their Group 1 haul in 2022/23 almost doubled their previous best season at the elite level with 11 victories among the 30 they celebrated together.

None were more significant than Gold Trip’s 2022 Melbourne Cup.

If the partnership wasn’t already there, Gold Trip’s victory elevated it to the pantheon of the best stables in the modern era of the Australian turf.

With a large chunk of his prizemoney banked for his Cup triumph, Gold Trip is the partnership’s highest stakes earner with more than $6.6 million ahead of Bella Nipotina with more than $5.2 million.

Overall, the partnership plundered almost $145 million in stakes from 8702 starters.

In keeping with Maher’s background as a jumps jockey while at the same time providing a shining example of the stable’s reach across all types of racing, the hurdler Saunter Boy is the partnership’s most prolific winner with 11 victories.

John Allen, who fittingly won on Socks Nation for the yard at Moonee Valley, finishes as the co-trainers’ most successful jockey with 251 victories - nine of them at Group 1 level.

One of those Group 1 wins was Maher and Eustace’s first together when Allen won on Kenedna in the 2019 Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Randwick.

As it has turned out, that win expedited a spectacular rise in Australia and fast-tracked Eustace to a sought-after place on the global stage as a Hong Kong trainer.