The last Group 1 of the current racing season is...
There is no denying the class of Michael Moroney’s imported grey galloper Glass Harmonium, and after engaging the services of hoop Lisa Cropp Moroney is confident the five-year-old can finally break their Australian maiden status in the Eagle Farm Cup today.
Verglas five-year-old Glass Harmonium produced a barnstorming race debut on Aussie shores when coming with a half-length of My Kingdom Of Fife in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 7.
That run saw them start as the equal favourite to win the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2020m) on May 21, but after a controversial ride by top jockey Hugh Bowman, Glass Harmonium couldn’t hold their front running position over the distance and eventually finished third to Scenic Shot.
Today Glass Harmonium is back and Moroney hopes it will be third time lucky for the talented stayer.
“We are still learning about Glass Harmonium, but it’s clear he is a top-class stayer,” Moroney said.
In a diminutive field of just six acceptors, Glass Harmonium is the short-priced $2.40 favourite to win the $250,000 Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) after coming up trumps with the inside running from alley one.
Flemington-based horseman Moroney is also comfortable with his decision to book champion jockey Lisa Cropp for the ride, Cropp only recently having returned to the saddle after suffering a skull fracture last December, to replace Bowman.
“I chose Lisa purely on the basis that she is a great jockey, not for the tremendous workload she shoulders back in Melbourne at Flemington,” Moroney said.
“In fact, the only time Lisa has seen Glass Harmonium was on the TV.
“The horse arrived in Sydney from quarantine and has never been anywhere near Melbourne.
“But the basis of the commitment to Lisa is purely that she will ride the horse throughout the spring carnival, which could hopefully realise a Cox Plate success.”
Like Moroney, Cropp was born in New Zealand and there have been rumours that the trainer-hoop association between the pair was in part due to this shared heritage.
“I didn’t use her very often in New Zealand,” Moroney said.
“I was out at Matamata and I had my own stable jockeys.
“Lisa has a great ability to ride light, so I think in all that time I put her on a few lightweights.”
Moroney was also quick to reject claims that he had replaced Sydney-based hoop Bowman based on his ride in the Doomben Cup.
“Hughie summed it up well,” Moroney explained.
“The horse got stripped behind which made him start to race.
“They were walking so it was a natural thing to do.
“I even think Hughie is kicky himself that he didn’t allow Glass Harmonium to lead by further and make it a gruelling staying test.
“Hugh said after the race that if he had his time over again, he would have got on his bike at the 800m.
“The race really developed into a sprint home, they ran the last 600m in 34.6s, yet Glass Harmonium really fought hard and was coming back at the leaders on the line.”
In regards to how Moroney had instructed Cropp to ride Glass Harmonium in the Eagle Farm Cup today, the trainer said from that gate he would prefer his horse to be held back off the speed, but that this wasn’t essential.
“It’s only a small field so we might end up leading again and that wouldn’t bother me,” he said.
“In a small field with no genuine pacemaker it might be the best spot.”
Following a good showing today, Moroney also said he hadn’t ruled out a run in next Saturday’s $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) with Glass Harmonium.
Looking towards the spring, Moroney was also hopeful that Glass Harmonium could develop into a genuine Cups horse.
“He’s the sort of horse we feel will be competitive in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the spring,” he said.
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