Flemington trainer Michael Moroney enjoyed further success with a Kiwi sprinter when four-year-old Not An Option took out Saturday’s Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington.
The stable, which recently sent out New Zealand arrival Roch ‘N’ Horse to win the Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), received Not An Option as a tried horse from the Tony Pike stable.
After a disappointing effort when ninth in his only start for Moroney last spring, the son of Not A Single Doubt returned to winning form after the tough decision was made to geld the smart galloper, who won at Group Two level in New Zealand as a two-year-old and had been multiple Group Three placed in Australia.
Given a perfect run by Patrick Moloney sitting just off the speed before being put into the race at the right time, Not An Option was a comfortable length winner over Superium with Chassis in third.
Moloney, who had ridden Not An Option in his trial leading into Saturday’s contest, was under no illusions as to why the $41 chance had turned his form around.
“The ultimate gear change, I suppose,” he said referring to the gelding operation.
“He only had one run for Mike prior to today and I rode him. He was a colt that day and he went around like a lad. He had a nice run but didn’t want to let down for me.
“It was good enough for the owners to bite the bullet and geld him and he’s come back a much more rounded animal.
“He gave me a lovely ride throughout. Relaxed, presented him down the Racecourse Road side and he was up to the task. I think he’s going to be a horse that only improves when he gets out to 1400m and a mile. Today he was quite brilliant and he had trialled up like that leading up to today.
“I was happy to get into the three-wide running lane on the back of Sansom. Originally I was in the one-one, following Vainstream but I thought having this one sit on him that I didn’t want to have him bullock his way out, I wanted him to flow into the race which we were able to do.
“He was up to the task today. He’s a quality animal and it’s good to see him get the job done first-up and it looks like he’s in for a nice campaign.”
Not An Option is out of Group Two-winning Savabeel mare Chintz, a talented sprinter-miler trained by Tony Pike and placed at Group One level on two occasions. The family also features high-class middle distance and staying horses Chenille and Seraphic.
Purchased by Pike Racing at the 2019 Karaka Yearling Sale for $240,000, from the draft of Curraghmore, Not An Option was bought as part of a colts syndicate, with Cambridge Stud later buying a major stake in the talented galloper.