Newmarket Handicap heroine Roch ’N’ Horse is thriving at Flemington and Michael Moroney and connections have confirmed the daughter of Per Incanto will head north to contest the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 2.
Bred and raced by Little Avondale Stud, Roch ’N’ Horse is blooming in the current warm Melbourne weather.
“She looks absolutely fabulous,” Moroney said. “She’s a very contented mare, is eating everything and has actually put weight on since the win.
“She’s had a bit of travel, from Matamata to Trentham and then the trip here but you wouldn’t know it, her constitution is amazing.
“I haven’t done much with her since the Newmarket but she is lovely and bright and bouncing about like she is ready to go again which is exactly what we want.”
Connections have elected to tackle the weight-for-age Sydney race with lucrative prizemoney of $AUD2.5 million.
“She’s in career best form and the way she won at Flemington tells us she is certainly good enough,” Moroney said.
“I had plenty of people tell me before the Newmarket that the New Zealand form was not good enough yet we won the race and Levante ran a terrific race to lead them home on the outside so it was a great result for New Zealand as a whole.”
Moroney is concerned about the monsoon-like weather that has plagued Sydney over the past month, with testing heavy tracks the norm.
“The one little question I have is about her coping with an extremely heavy track so I’m hoping things will improve in time,” he said.
“Her last three starts have been at Group One level, she was desperately unlucky at Ellerslie in the Railway and then just missed in the Telegraph – the best two sprints in New Zealand and then we saw what she is capable of at Flemington.”
Moroney is also upbeat about the prospects of another former New Zealand sprinter in Not An Option, who is likely to run in Saturday’s Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington.
“His work here at Flemington on Tuesday was as good as I have seen from him since we’ve had him and when we looked at the race on Saturday, it looks a suitable option for him,” Moroney said.
“The field looks like dropping away a bit and more than half the nominations are on the minimum weight which for a Group winner like him is a luxury.
“He won his Group Two going left-handed at Trentham and we gave him a nice break after having one run for us last September where he just got lost at Flemington.
“If he can repeat his gallop from Tuesday then it does look a nice race for him.”