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It’s all just a little bit of history repeating for Merion in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday, which trainer Mike Moroney is hoping will work in his three-year-old gelding’s favour.
Merion won over 1400 metres at Flemington second-up in his first two preparations, and Moroney is hopeful history can repeat itself and nab him a third in Saturday’s $150,000 race.
The gelding won the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) last April, half a length ahead of Light Up Manhattan, and found victory again five months later in the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m) on September 13. Merion found a lovely spot one off the fence behind the lead division and took no chances in moving out wide. He then swept up and had a battle with Chivalry, just out bobbing him on the line.
Merion could be set for another clash against the Mark Kavanagh-trained colt as both feature in the 24-strong CS Hayes Stakes nominations. The three-year-old enjoyed a strong gallop on steeplegrass this morning over 1200m, which pleased his trainer
“I’m very happy with him. I thought he went terrific first-up and he seems to have trained on well since, his work this morning was good and he’s run a smart time.” Moroney told Racenet.
Merion resumed in the William Hill Plate (1300m) at Sandown on February 7. The gelding was wide early before settling outside the leader. He travelled along at a nice, steady pace and got a narrow lead at the 300m before hitting a brick wall and battling on for third place.
Moroney is hoping he can draw well in the 2015 CS Hayes Stakes, which will increase his chances at a treble over 1400 metres at Flemington.
“Steve (Arnold, jockey) said he hit a brick wall the last 100 at Sandown but in saying that he was racing in a space he wasn’t used to. He was caught wide and either had to go right back or go forward and made the right decision so I’m hoping he draws a decent barrier on Saturday.” he said.
“When he has won here at Flemington both times he’s drawn nicely and it is a huge help.”
Following the CS Hayes Stakes, Merion will be focused towards the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 7.
“The horses he will meet on Saturday are the best of the Melbourne group and with the Randwick Guineas on the same day as the Australian Guineas we think this is the best option for him,” Moroney said.
“We’re treating the Australian Guineas as his first grand final. We’ll assess things after that to see if we press on to Sydney and look at a race like the Rosehill Guineas.”
Final fields and barrier draws will be released for the CS Hayes Stakes on Wednesday following which the betting markets will go live at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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