Michael Moroney believes he may have uncovered the potential 2011 Caulfield Cup winner, the former New Zealand horseman holding a high opinion of his in-form galloper Nobel Park.
Four-year-old Pins gelding Noble Park has raced four times to date for three wins and will get their chance at another turf triumph to kick-start a Melbourne Spring Carnival crusade this Saturday at Flemington.
Back in April the emerging stayer recorded a strong win on a Heavy track at Sandown before their most recent effort to beat home subsequent Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes winner Turnitup and win at Flemington over 2000 metres on May 7 carrying a hefty 58kg.
“(His) win at Flemington was a very, very good effort given the run he got in the race and stepping up in distance,” Moroney said.
“He was beaten at the 100 metres but he fought back for a good win.”
Despite having shown such promise during the autumn in Melbourne, Moroney chose not to send Noble Park up to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Carnival, choosing instead to send the still-green galloper for a nice break ahead of the spring.
“He was a little on the weak side as far as maturity went which is why we didn’t go to Queensland but he has come back looking quite good with the little break he had,” Moroney explained.
This weekend they are engaged to race first-up the $70,000 June Price & Anthony O’Donoghue Handicap (1410m) where Lisa Cropp will ride them on the minimum of 53kg from barrier eight of 14.
“We have always had a pretty high opinion of him,” Moroney said.
“He did it pretty much on raw ability last time in and this is a starting point for him.
“He is a big, lean sort of horse so it is a bit hard to get a guide on him but he’s going to sit reasonably forward in condition and he is the type who could go well over 1400 metres first-up.”
Noble Park is the current narrow $4.60 favourite at Luxbet to win Flemington Race 4 tomorrow, followed closely in the Saturday racing odds by Matthew Ellerton’s last-start Caulfield winner Mr Griswold ($4.80).
Moroney has confirmed that the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 is the main, and ambitious, spring aim for Noble Park.
“Certainly (the Caulfield Cup) would be in our thoughts and we will see how far we can get towards it,” the now Flemington-based Moroney said.
“We’ll just see how far we can go with him.
“We have got to get his rating up and he is a horse who should go forward with experience.”
Following Saturday, Moroney indicated that the $125,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 17 would be a nice stepping-stone towards the spring majors as it offers a ballot exemption for the 2011 Caulfield Cup field.
“Winning that might be the only way for him to make the Cup field,” Moroney said.
Noble Park was one of the 189 Caulfield Cup 2011 nominations taken earlier this week, the horse also an off-hand early entry for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Futures Caulfield Cup betting markets have Noble Park rated a $31 chance.
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