A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Lightly-raced mare Bonnie Mac will race for her future in tonight’s Australia Stakes 2013 with trainer Michael Moroney to decide whether she will head down the Newmarket Handicap path or be kept to the lower grades this autumn based on her Moonee Valley performance.
The five-year-old daughter of Thorn Park, formerly prepared in New Zealand by Kiwi expat Moroney and his then partner Andrew Clarken, has had just nine starts to date boasting a consistent record with five wins, most recently in the Listed Proud Miss Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville last May.
After a failed campaign in Brisbane during the winter carnival finishing ninth in the Group 2 Dane Ripper (1400m) on a mud track and then dead last in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) she spent the next six months on the sidelines.
“She had some wind issues when she came over but they were not serious enough to stop her racing very well, so we pushed on as long as we could,” Moroney explained.
“She just didn’t handle the right handed way of going. It wasn’t the wind so much but when her form tailed off up there we stopped and got the operation done.”
Moroney bought her back at Flemington on New Year’s Day, Bonnie Mac running a credible sixth to Adamantium in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m), which she will be looking to improve on tonight.
“It was a pretty strong off season sprint and I thought her effort had plenty of merit,” Moroney said of her performance in the Standish.
“She was probably on the wrong part of the track and I think she peaked on her run over the final stages.
“With 50 metres to go she was going to run third or fourth but she was coming off a long spell so was probably entitled to get tired.”
The mare is one of seven sprint types lining up in this year’s edition of the $220,000 Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) and will jump from barrier six with Dwayne Dunn taking over from her first-up hoop Nicholas Hall.
Latest Australia Stakes betting odds are led by Peter Snowden’s resuming veteran Pinwheel ($2) who is a noted first-up performer.
Bonnie Mac meanwhile is the roughie of the field at $19, a price Moroney hopes she will prove better than.
Her Australia Stakes performance will prove crucial in determining her future racing plans and what races Moroney will target with her.
He threw in a nomination for one of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival majors, the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse on March 9 and hopes it will prove a viable target.
“This will be a turning point for her,” Moroney said.
“She has the ability but this run in what is not a strong weight-for-age race, will tell us whether she can be competitive in a race like the Newmarket or whether we drop back to mares races.”
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