Trainer Michael Moroney has confirmed a run at Rosehill Racecourse over more distance in either the Tulloch Stakes or the Rosehill Guineas 2015 for his progressive colt Merion after a solid Australian Guineas run in Melbourne last weekend.
On February seventh the O’Reilly gelding was far from disgraced when up over a mile in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse.
Jockey Steve Arnold settled the galloper into second, a position he held right up until the turn before getting run down late to cross sixth, three and a half lengths off the impressive Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Wandjina.
“He actually raced as if he wants to go a mile and a quarter,” Moroney told the Herald Sun speaking of Merion’s Australian Guineas effort.
“They outsprinted him, but he whacked back really well, considering.”
Sixth in his last run over the mile when under four lengths off Shooting To Win in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) last spring, Merion was third-up last Saturday and came off a fourth to the subsequent Australian Guineas winner Wandjina in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m).
A winner of three of his nine starts to date, he hasn’t won a race since the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last September.
He has also raced exclusively in Melbourne so far, something Moroney will change next start with the horse earmarked for his Sydney debut.
Moroney is now weighing up whether to test Merion in Group 1 company again on Golden Slipper Day in the $500,000 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 21 or save him for the following week’s $175,000 Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) on The BMW Day.
Also Rosehill Guineas-bound after a big run last weekend is Chris Waller’s Victorian Derby winner Preferment, the Zabeel colt having run sixth to Hallowed Crown in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Neither Moroney nor Waller have ever prepared a Rosehill Guineas winner.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au over the coming weeks for all the latest on the Rosehill Guineas, a race won 12 months ago by the David Payne-trained Criterion, the now four-year-old Sebring stallion looking set for a stellar autumn after a first-up third to Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) last Saturday.
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