This Saturday at Caulfield’s Memsie Stakes Day trainer Michael Moroney will kick off the spring cups’ campaign of his exciting German import Araldo in the Slickpix Stakes 2014.
One of 30 stayers nominated for this year’s $120,000 Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m), the High Chaparral stallion makes his six-year-old debut in the spring carnival lead-up race that Ladbrokes.com.au will be offering the best prices on.
Lightly raced for his age having had just the 11 starts so far, Araldo is twice Group 1 performed in Europe having run third and fourth respectively over 2413m at elite level back in 2012.
He debuted down under for Moroney after a 10 and a half month break but failed badly in last year’s Slickpix Stakes.
After an awkward jump from the outside barrier (16) he ran wide throughout with Glen Boss aboard and could only manage to beat home one other runner when a distant 15th behind Ibicenco.
Improvement followed however over his subsequent three runs that produced a hat-trick of top three runs in black-type company including a win over Sea Moon on protest in the Listed The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington.
At his latest start Araldo ran third behind Ruscello in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Victoria Derby Day, missing out on a run in that year’s Melbourne Cup due to a stress fracture found after that run.
This spring Moroney has ambitious aims again and is hoping to run Araldo in both the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 and the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
The import, which has made a nice recovery, pays $34 in futures Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au and $41 to win the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Those are prices that are certain to be slashed by the bookies should Araldo come out on Saturday and win first-up in what is shaping up as a top race.
That’s something Moroney isn’t exactly confident about however with the 1700m likely short of the horse’s best.
“He’s a really nice stayer,” Moroney told AAP.
“From a mile-and-a-half up he’s going to be very competitive I would think.
“He’s shown glimpses and he’s pretty lightly raced.
“His form reads pretty good for a lightly raced horse and he just looked as if he was going to take the next step if things had been right with him.”
He gets into the handicap clash on 56kg with Slickpix Stakes weights led by the Robert Hickmott-trained Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes winner Sea Moon (61.5kg).
Hickmott has also nominated for the second heaviest weighted hope, Masked Marvel (59kg) last seen running 18th in the Melbourne Cup last November behind Fiorente.
Also high up the weights are the likes of Peter Moody’s defending Slickpix Stakes winner Ibicenco (59kg) who won last spring’s Geelong Cup before a Melbourne Cup 16th, the Ciaron Maher-trained Mr O’Ceirin (58.5kg) and Chris Waller’s Auckland Cup winner over the two miles Who Shot Thebarman (58kg).
Along with last year’s winner, Moody also has Brambles in the mix this season, the 2012 Queensland Derby winner looking for his first win since June two years ago.
Other notable Slickpix Stakes nominees include the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Easter Cup placegetter Stipulate and another entry for Maher in his super consistent seven-year-old Marksmanship.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the official 2014 Slickpix Stakes field and barriers on Wednesday.
In the meantime why not get behind your early Caulfield and Melbourne Cup hopes online at Ladbrokes.com.au before futures prices firm following the weekend’s race results.