Talented filly Tokorangi headed to Christchurch on Thursday morning ahead of a tilt at the Group 1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday for trainers Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard. The daughter of Redwood charged into third in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) last start behind De La Terre and gives the impression the step-up in distance will be right up her alley.
Like a number of the northern raiders in Saturday’s fillies feature, Tokorangi flew to Christchurch late in the piece and Moroney believes the hit-and-run raid will suit the quirky filly who is rated a $7.50 prospect with the TAB. “She just has to get down there in one piece,” Moroney said. “I think the fact that she is flying in late will help her because she is not straight-forward. She has improved but temperament wise she has been a bit immature.”
Tokorangi races for a syndicate which includes leviathan Australian owner Ozzie Kheir, who bought into the filly recently, but Moroney envisages his charge remaining in New Zealand for a while yet before joining his Flemington stable. “I would think she would probably stay in New Zealand until the Oaks (Group 1, 2400m), if she looks like being an Oaks filly. “But we are taking it a race at a time and we would like to think she is there until at least Christmas time before we make a decision on whether she comes to Australia for the autumn.”
The New Zealand 1000 Guineas holds fond memories for Moroney, whose first Group 1 winner as a trainer was Imperial Angel in the Classic in 1985.
Meanwhile, four-year-old Harlech is soon to make his way back to New Zealand where he will target the Group 1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on December 5. The New Zealand-owned son of Darci Brahma disappointed in his first Australian campaign, with the Group 1 placed galloper finishing last in the Group 3 Chatham Stakes (1400m) at his most recent run, after landing a cheque for connections when winning the Benalla Cup (1406m).
“He is still a stallion, so we’re chasing a Group 1 and we thought that the Captain Cook was ideal. There’s not much left here (Melbourne) for him now and I didn’t really want to back him up at Sandown this weekend,” Moroney said. “He wanted to over-race over here badly to start with and then we put the ear muffs on him and it had the opposite effect last start, so we have still been working him out.” Depending on his performance, Harlech might race through the summer in New Zealand, although Moroney is keen to see the entire race in Sydney in autumn.
The trans-Tasman stable will be represented by handy stayer Sound in Saturday’s Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown and depending on the performance of the imported galloper, a trip to New Zealand could also be in the offing. “Sound will probably come back for the Auckland Cup (Group 1, 3200m), a race he ran second in this year,” Moroney said. “If he wins this weekend we will rethink it, but with the set weights and penalties of the Auckland Cup he will get in on the minimum as it stands.”