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NZ Racing Desk | December 05, 2022

Australian Cup aim for Smokin’ Romans

Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are hoping to achieve more Group One success with Smokin’ Romans as they set their sights towards autumn with the New Zealand-bred six-year-old.

The son of Ghibellines was a dominant winners of the Gr.1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in October and his trainers are eyeing similar conditions in the Gr.1 Australian Cup (2000m at the Melbourne track in March.

“He’s just gone back into work at Fingal,” Eustace told

“He looks terrific, he’s had a nice break, but we don’t like to give those older horses too long and let down too much. He’s going to hold, obviously, plenty of residual fitness.

“We’re working towards, primarily, the Australian Cup, for the first half of the autumn and then obviously be guided by him and his performances as to where he heads to after that.”

Smokin’ Romans sports the colours of Kiwi owner Don Frampton, who has raced Group One winners such as Booming and Trounced.

Frampton secured a share in the gelding following his sale to currently disqualified trainer Darren Weir for $52,500 during the Book 1 sale at Karaka in 2018.


Moroney home for Christmas

Trans-Tasman trainer Michael Moroney is looking forward to heading home to New Zealand after a highly success Spring Carnival.

While Moroney is looking forward to spending some time with his family, he will also take the opportunity to visit is Matamata barn, headed by his New Zealand co-trainer Pam Gerard.

"It'll be interesting to see the horses, my family's back there as well, so (I'll) spend Christmas with them, it's the first time Dad won't be there, so it'll be nice to spend some time with Mum," Moroney told

"There's a nice Christmas Carnival on and I get time to have a look at all of the horses there and probably pick a few to come back here.

"I always say it's getting out of bed at the same time but just a different background, Kaimai Ranges in New Zealand and the city here."

Moroney says his New Zealand training operation possesses an exciting crop of young horses who will be well suited to continuing their racing careers in Australia.

"We've got some three-year-olds there and a couple of mares there that are probably going to be good enough to join in at some stage," Moroney said.

"Like we did with Roch 'N' Horse, we've got a mare called Dragon Queen who's been a Group Two winner over there and she'll probably end up in Australia at some stage, maybe the autumn or the winter.

"Another mare called Sassy Merlot, who looks a really nice sprinting mare (and) another mare called Tevere, they're all nice mares.

"There are a couple of three-year-olds who haven't raced yet who we think might be Derby horses, so we'll see how we go."

Smokin’ Romans Ciaron Maher Ciaron Maher and David Eustace David Eustace Ghibellines Turnbull Stakes Australian Cup Don Frampton Booming Trounced Darren Weir Michael Moroney Pam Gerard Roch 'N' Horse Dragon Queen Sassy Merlot Tevere