Trainers Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard have plenty of options to mull over with Group Two-winning filly Tokorangi after the daughter of Redwood finished seventh in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on Sunday.
The filly was forced down onto the rail and didn’t get the rub of the green in the Derby on a deteriorating Slow7 track.
“Conditions were probably a little bit worse than what she wanted,” Moroney said. “She jumped away well but then didn’t get a lot of luck early. The horse on the outside shoved her over to the rail and we didn’t really want to be there.
“Then she went from being up with the first half dozen where she should have been with a round to go, back to third or fourth to last by the time they got to the 1000m mark.
“I think the sting was taken out of her a couple of times. She got stopped in her tracks on a few occasions which didn’t make it easy. She ran on fairly well without really going ping.”
A +1300 chance in the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) in a fortnight, Tokorangi has options on both sides of the Tasman.
“There is still the option of going to the New Zealand Oaks (Group 1, 2400m) or there is the Australasian Oaks (Group 1, 2000m) in Adelaide. Both are left-handed, and perhaps she is better left-handed or there are races sitting there in Sydney. We haven’t made any definite plans yet,” Moroney said.
The Moroney-Gerard team will definitely be represented in the New Zealand Oaks, with Dragon Queen, a +2000 Oaks chance, running well for third in the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) behind Amarelinha and Needle And Thread.
“It was a really good run, she surprised me as I didn’t really think she’d be a chance of staying. She just keeps improving and she’ll go down to the Oaks,” Moroney said.
“Her second dam is Snap who did win an Oaks and looked an unlikely Oaks horse, and this filly is the same. She just keeps improving as they go further.
Meanwhile, Moroney is hoping for better luck in Saturday’s Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) with imported galloper Sound, a $3.20 favourite for the feature staying contest.
“Evidently, he worked well on Saturday and he’ll have a decent hit-out, probably in company with On The Rocks, on Tuesday. But all the reports have been good about him.
“He will fly straight to Sydney on Monday after the Auckland Cup this weekend. He won’t hang around,” Moroney said of the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) bound stayer.