Melbourne Cup winning trainer Mike Moroney has taken a vastly different approach to tapping into the European staying blood which is dominating Australian racing.
Moroney will be present at next week’s famed Royal Ascot meeting in England but prior to flying out on Saturday evening he’ll have runners at Ipswich and Rosehill.
Muirfield runs in the Ipswich Cup while Moroney warned punters not to discard Don Carlos and Savvy Dancer in the final event at Rosehill.
“There is one we think is going to be pretty hard to beat and that’s Don Carlos,” Moroney said on Friday.
“He went terrific the other day when coming from last. He got home fast and only a couple of lengths off the winner.
“If Savvy Dancer brought his New Zealand form he’d be hard to beat as well but I was a little disappointed with his run the other day.
“I thought he might have been one run behind and that’s probably how it worked out.”
Muirfield arrived up north last month after finishing down the track in a staying race in Adelaide.
“He has freshened up nicely,” Moroney said.
“I took him over to Adelaide hoping for a wet track but he never got it. I probably should have scratched but it was long way to go, he was there and we ran him.”
Moroney is an annual visitor to the Brisbane winter carnival although the pickings have been slim this year. It has been that sought of season.
“By our standards it hasn’t been as good as previously,” Moroney said.
“Bit similar to the whole season, we haven’t had a group 1 winner this season and it has been a while since that happened.
“We’ve had a couple of seconds in group 1s.”
Moroney believes there “a few things in favour” of Muirfield.
“He wants give in the ground and that’s what he’ll get up there,” Moroney said.
“Round Ipswich they should go lickety-split, he can get pulling if they don’t run along, so a solid speed will also help him.
“We’ve aimed for this race and the Caloundra Cup and he has definitely pleased us on the training track.”
Moroney is set to link up with his brother Paul in England. Paul Moroney is regarded as one of the best buyers of bloodstock in Australasia.
The Moroneys missed out on buying several seasoned European stayers last year so they decided to change tack.
“What we did was buy half a dozen yearlings at the sales over there,” Moroney revealed.
“We bought two hoping they would be up and running early and the others were stayers.
“One of the early comers is called Extra Noble, he ran second on debut and could be a runner on the final day of the Royal Ascot meeting.”
The buying of seasoned European stayers is becoming quite expensive so the Moroneys assembled a team of seven clients and went to the yearling sales in Europe.
“Extra Noble may well end up being sold to Hong Kong, places like that, while the others will race over there until completing their three-year-old season,” Moroney said.
“It is no use bringing them back here, they are six months behind but once they turn four they catch up, the six months means bugger all.
“We’re looking at buying again this year, it is something we have wanted to do for a while.
“We got the group together and hopefully we’ll have an AGM at Royal Ascot every year.”
By Craig Young