Trainer Ciaron Maher is setting his sights on the BMW Caulfield Cup with tough stayer Mr O’Ceirin who booked a place in next month’s $2.5 million Group 1 feature with an impressive win in the Grp 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Freshened since his Grafton Cup (Listed) win in July, the six-year-old improved on his runner-up placing in the Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) last start to down a field of Cup hopefuls. The win was extra sweet for Maher – he says Mr O’Ceirin was unlucky not to feature in last year’s Cup after just failing behind Folding Gear in the Naturalism.

“It’s a great thrill because he was stiff in this race last year so it’s great to get him in because he deserves his chance,” Maher said. “He went back down to Warrnambool (after the Grafton Cup) and just had a weed around at the beach where he didn’t do a lot and we just maintained his fitness.”

After beginning well from barrier 15, Glen Boss was able to dictate terms up front, turning the race into a sprint home from the 600m.

Collared by import Kesampour ($12) halfway down the straight, Mr O’Ceirin ($7.50) found an extra gear in the run to the line, staving off the challenge from the Peter Moody-trained galloper and going on to record victory by a length, with another import, Mick Price’s Bit Of Hell ($20), a further length-and-a-quarter away in third.

Boss admitted the lack of early-race pressure had been pivotal to the success but said Mr O’Ceirin’s final 100m had been his best and the horse would be a live contender with 52.5 kilograms in the Caulfield Cup.

“His first 200 metres is his quickest part so it was great to be able to do what I did there, just cruise across,” Boss said.

“Once we got to the top of the hill I knew it was all over because he gave me such a feel.

“It was a little bit ridiculous when we got to the top of the hill and you don’t want to be going too slow so we got rolling at about the 700m.

“I was thinking someone was going to have to come but it was too late because the bird had flown.”

“I thought the best part of this horse’s race was the last 100m because he really found another gear to run through the line and he was getting away from them.”

Maher said he was likely to give the son of Postponed a final lead-up run in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on 12 October before tackling the Caulfield Cup the following Saturday with 52.5 kilograms.

Click here to view the full results from the D’Urban Naturalism Stakes.