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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Wednesday, March 01 2017

Mike Moroney has served his dues this season, with five Group One placings. Now he wants a Group One win.

Savile Row (yellow) - Trish Dunell

Moroney, who has stables on both sides of the Tasman, trains leading chances for the two richest races at the Auckland Cup carnival.

Rising three-year-old star Savile Row is favourite for Saturday's $1 million Vodafone Derby (2400m) and stablemate Mister Impatience is joint second favourite for the $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) on Saturday week.

However, favouritism is a guide rather than a guarantee and Group One wins never come easily.

Moroney has won 46 Group One races, a tally that puts him among the top echelon of Australasian trainers, but it has been a while since his last one.

From 2000, Moroney's Ballymore Stables team recorded at least one Group One win every year for 12 successive years, with a total of 26 in that time.

The big race wins over this period included a Melbourne Cup, New Zealand Derby (twice), Victoria Derby, Victoria Oaks, Stradbroke Handicap, Blue Diamond Stakes, Doomben Cup, Coolmore Classic, Kelt Stakes, Two Thousand Guineas, Wellington Cup and Railway Stakes.

But the streak ended with Glass Harmonium's Mackinnon Stakes win at Flemington in October 2011.

Glass Harmonium was just a neck away from winning the Mackinnon again the following year and was also runner-up in the Futurity Stakes that season but a Group One win has eluded the stable since the Mackinnon victory.

"We have had a lot of placings," Moroney said this week.

Tivaci, the current star of the Melbourne stable, recorded two Group One placings last spring and Savile Row, who is under Pam Gerard's care at the Matamata base, tackles the Derby after running second in Group One company in three of his last four starts.

"He should run well in the Derby," Moroney said. "You would think he would have to be well off his game not to be in the finish."

One query over Savile Row is that he has raced greenly at his last two starts and a shadow roll has been added to his gear for Saturday. "He's lovely to do anything with around the stable but he is a colt and it's just his racing manners," Moroney said.

"He will have to do things right but there's no doubt that he has the ability to do it.

"He will have a future as a stallion, particularly if he can win a Group One. He's a seriously good type of horse and has a pedigree to go with it."

Savile Row will be the first New Zealand Derby runner for Gerard, who joined Moroney in partnership last year, but the remainder of the horse's connections have already experienced the thrill of winning New Zealand's richest classic.

Owner-breeder Kevin Hickman won the Derby in 2012, with Silent Achiever, and Moroney has won the race three times, twice with Michael Coleman in the saddle.

Darren Beadman rode Moroney's first Derby winner, Great Command, in 1996 but Coleman was the rider when Ballymore recorded successive wins with Cut The Cake and Xcellent. "The old firm is back again," Moroney said.

"Xcellent was freakish but Savile Row is a better horse than Cut The Cake and on the same level as Great Command.

Great Command won seven of his 10 starts, including two Group One races. "Great Command was a very good horse and there wouldn't be much between him and Savile Row," Moroney said.

Savile Row shortened to $4.00 favourite after drawing barrier seven, with Avondale Guineas winner Gingernuts the second elect at $6.50.

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 11:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email