Trans-Tasman trainer Michael Moroney has welcomed the arrival of promising Kiwi filly Let’s Say Grace to his Flemington base.
The three-year-old daughter of Charm Spirit won impressively at Tauranga over 1400m in December under the care of Moroney’s Matamata training partner Pam Gerard, with that form subsequently franked by placegetters Pinarello and Princess Lowry, who hold classic ambitions.
Bred by Curraghmore’s Gordon Cunningham, Let’s Say Grace was keenly sought after by prospective purchasers after the Tauranga victory, but has been retained within the Ballymore Stables, and like another famed Curraghmore graduate, Tofane, will run in the colours of prominent owner Rupert Legh.
“She will run in Rupert’s colours, it’s a similar sort of thing to Tofane with a few different owners but there's probably four or five people that are in Tofane that are in her as well and there's a few new people,” Moroney said.
“We’ve had a lot of luck with horses from Curraghmore, including Tevere (winner of four from seven and likely to target the Gr.3 Haunui Farm King's Plate, 1200m), who Gordon races.”
Moroney said Let’s Say Grace had taken ten days to settle in, but he was looking forward to giving her a jump-out before venturing to the races.
“She seems good now and we're going to give her a jump-out on Friday and then the following Saturday probably kick her off at Caulfield in a 1400m fillies rating 70 race. We’ll get through that run before we work out a program for her.”
Triple Group One winner Tofane will resume in the Gr.1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 12 in what shapes as the mare’s final campaign before going to stud.
Moroney and Gerard are still pondering their options for Group One-placed mare Roch 'N' Horse, who was beaten a whisker in the Telegraph (1200m) by Levante at Trentham just over a week ago.
“She came back from Trentham a fraction tired and I just said to both Sam Williams (of Little Avondale Stud) and Pam that we really wanted to give her a week or so to see how she is,” he said.
“She has just been on the walker and the treadmill. We've got a few different options and we could give her a little freshen and bring her to Australia.”
Meanwhile, Harlech will head to Trentham on Saturday for the Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m), with Michael McNab to ride, while veteran stayer Sound will be back at the races in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 12.
“Harlech had a trial last week and Pam was very happy with him,” Moroney said.
“Sound will have a trial before he goes to the Herbie Dyke and then a decision will be made after Te Rapa as to whether we stay at the weight-for-age 2000m or we give him a prep and get ready for the Auckland Cup (Gr.1, 3200m).
“I couldn’t really get much of a line on him at Ellerslie (when seventh in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic, 2000m). It got pretty tight and he got knocked over a bit. He did pick himself up to the line which is a good sign after he copped a fair bit of interference. I expect him to be far better left handed as well at Te Rapa.”
The stable also celebrated success on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie on Saturday, with Dragon Queen landing a well-deserved first stakes win in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m).