Trainer Mike Moroney is pleased with the progress of his three runners at Doomben on Saturday, with the trio set to improve markedly from their first runs straight off the plane from New Zealand.
Tough-as-teak filly Pinmedown will represent the stable in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) for which she is a $31 chance. The Group 2 winner finished 12th in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben three weeks’ ago and Moroney believes the flight over took its toll. “I think she was just a little bit flat from the trip over, but she looks to have bounced back to me. Her work has certainly been very good,” Moroney said. “We expect a big improvement from her going into the Oaks. “I think she was mucking around a fair bit on the plane and we found that she was out in a few places. She has done a bit of work with the chiropractors and we have her right for this weekend. “The track was pretty rough the other day and I have always believed she is better on top of the ground. I think the improved track conditions will suit her as well.”
Moroney gave speedy three-year-old She’s A Thief a pass mark in her first start in Australia when sixth in the Listed Queensland Day Plate (1350m), but he has opted to make some gear changes ahead of Saturday’s Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes (1200m). “She is really good. I gave her a little jump out on Tuesday with blinkers and a tongue tie on, so she will have that change of gear to try and spark her up a bit,” Moroney said. “Her first run here was a pass mark. She never really travelled up. It was a good enough run, but we know she is better than that. “As a two-year-old she had a lot of speed and she seems to have lost that a bit, so we are going to have a gear change to see if that is going to help her.” The main aim for She’s A Thief is the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic Fillies & Mares (1350m) at Ipswich on June 15. “She didn’t get going till later in the season so she is one coming in on reasonably fresh legs so will probably kick on a bit longer,” Moroney said.
On The Rocks represents the stable in the Group 2 P.J. O’Shea Stakes (2200m) and Moroney believes the four-year-old entire will strip much fitter after finishing towards the tail of the field in both the Group 2 Easter Handicap (1600m) and the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m). “He came over here a bit on the pretty side,” Moroney said. “Being a stallion, he has got pretty strong and I think he just needed a bit of work. We had a lot of rain here (at the Sunshine Coast) and they didn’t open the course proper. “The all-weather track, which has serviced them well for a long time, is reasonably ripped up and not that good at the moment. They are just about to put a polytrack in instead. “We didn’t really have anywhere to have a decent gallop and I think he badly needed one going into his last start. We are hoping that run has tidied him up.”
Moroney said his trio of runners were likely to stay in Australia and race in the spring before heading back to New Zealand for summer racing. Meanwhile, Moroney has confirmed that progressive stayer Gundown has joined his stable in Melbourne. The winner of three of 18 starts for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Gundown placed at Group 2 and Group 3 level as a three-year-old.
The son of High Chaparral finished sixth behind Glory Days in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at his most recent outing. “We really think he is a country cups horse,” Moroney said. “It has got a bit more difficult now there are a lot of imports but those sort of stayers are pretty easy to place in Australia. Strangely enough New Zealand doesn’t have as many staying races. “There are plenty of opportunities over here in Australia and I think things have slowed down as far as bringing the imports out.”