Trainer Michael Moroney is getting very excited about the prospects of Tofane in the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield next month.
The daughter of Ocean Park pleased Moroney with her jumpout at Flemington on Friday and he believes she will be cherry ripe for the Group One feature after a further two public outings.
“I am really happy with her. This is probably the first of three of jumpouts she will have going into the Memsie,” Moroney said.
“We are sort of following the same pattern as we did in the autumn. She is quite forward considering the way the ground is.
“She didn’t have much of a blow at all, her fitness levels are pretty good.”
Moroney believes the rising seven-year-old is the best he has had her and he is hoping she can improve on her third-placing in the race last year.
“She really looks at her full strength now,” he said. “I think the fact that she is lightly raced will stand by her.
“She really looks like she is starting to hit her straps. This last prep she was at her best and she has continued on.”
The four-time Group One winner was purchased by Yulong Investments as a broodmare prospect on the Gold Coast in May for A$3.1 million with a view of targeting the Memsie prior to being served in the spring.
Those plans remain in place and Moroney said what lies beyond the Memsie has yet to be decided.
“I have got to discuss it with the owners about her plans after he Memsie,” he said.
“I am picking they will get her served after that because the breeding season starts on the first of September.
“I am only guessing as we haven’t discussed any further than the Memsie.”
Bred by Curraghmore principal Gordon Cunningham, Tofane is a daughter of Ocean Park out of the Galileo mare Baggy Green.
It is one of the most active families in Australasia, with Baggy Green’s three-quarter sister Funstar joined by half-sister Youngstar as Group One winners in recent years, and both sold to Japan as broodmares.
Tofane’s half-brothers No Compromise and Benaud added further lustre to the family this Autumn, with the former a Group Three winner for Chris Waller two starts back while the latter finished a narrow runner-up in the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) for John O’Shea.
Cunningham elected to initially retain Tofane and send her to Moroney’s Matamata barn under the care of co-trainer Pam Gerard.
She won an 820m trial at Te Teko before Ballymore Stable clients purchased her from Cunningham and she was transferred to Moroney’s Melbourne barn.
She has gone on to win eight of her 29 starts and more than A$3.5 million in prizemoney.
Moroney was also pleased with stablemate and compatriot Nerve Not Verve’s jumpout on Friday ahead of a campaign that could include a tilt at the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The daughter of Shocking has been in career best form, winning two and runner-up in two of her last four starts.
She was runner-up in the Gr.3 Epona Stakes (1900m) before winning the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) in autumn, beating out subsequent Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) winner Knights Order.
“We made a bit of a blue not having Nerve Not Verve in the Sydney Cup,” Moroney admitted.
“We were taking her up for the broodmare sale and put her in the lead-up to the Cup and she beat the Cup winner.
“There weren’t any late entries for the Sydney Cup.”
Moroney said the rising seven-year-old has appreciated time and he expects her to follow in the same footsteps as her Group One-winning half-sister Glory Days.
“She has just got better with age,” he said.
“She is a half to a Group One two-mile winner in New Zealand. She is stoutly bred and is starting to run that way.”
Nerve Not Verve is another Curraghmore graduate, having been purchased out of the farm’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft by bloodstock agent Bruce Perry for $60,000 for client Lib Petagna.
She subsequently entered the care of Moroney’s Matamata barn and under the guidance of co-trainer Pam Gerard she won her last start in New Zealand over 2100m before heading across the Tasman.