After a disappointing return on Caulfield Guineas Day, trainer Michael Moroney is confident of an improved effort second-up in Saturday’s 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes for his former New Zealand-trained mare In Style.
A six-year-old daughter of Fast ‘N’ Famous, In Style has won seven times back in New Zealand including most famously her comprehensive six and three-quarter length victory in the Group 1 Telegraph Stakes (1200m) at Trentham back in January.
She missed the entire autumn and didn’t race again until October 10 when debuting down under in the Group 3 Northwood Plume Stakes (1200m) for Moroney.
Ridden by top Kiwi hoop Opie Bosson, In Style failed to make an impression when running second last crossing ninth to subsequent Myer Classic winner Politeness who was also the brave runner-up to Turn Me Loose in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) last weekend at Flemington.
She missed the kick badly and never made up ground, beaten nearly five lengths by the finish.
In her first-up run Moroney’s mare carried 59kg and so drops two kilograms down to 57kg if accepted for her Zipping Classic Day assignment at Sandown Hillside on Saturday in the $150,000 Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m).
The middle-distance weight-for-age sprint attracted 23 nominations this season including six mares.
In Style is one of those, and as a Group 1 winner also one of the highest rated, Moroney hoping she can atone for her unexplained flop at jump last month.
“She cost herself maybe 10 lengths at the start and she did a great job to at one stage in the straight to be in the firing line to be in the finish,” he told Racing Victoria this week.
“Obviously the effort told late in the race but I think if she’d have jumped away she would have gone very close (to winning) that day.
“We’ve had to have a jumpout in between runs because of last start and she jumped away well and went really well. She’s normally got gate speed so I think she can put herself in the race.
“I know it’s weight-for-age but she’s got form against the males in New Zealand and if she brings that form then she’s certainly got the class to measure up.”
Along with In Style the Flemington-based Moroney also has the in-form Garud nominated for a Saturday run at Sandown in the $150,000 Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m).
A veteran eight-year-old son of High Chaparral, Garud has run third in his three most recent runs all in Melbourne.
Two back he was two behind the Murray Baker-trained Turn Me Loose in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) before his Melbourne Cup Day run on November 3 beaten just over a length by Awesome Rock in the Listed Cup Day Plate (1800m).
He has his fourth run at the Sandown track on the weekend over the 1800m, which he has raced over four times before for three third place efforts.
Garud hasn’t been to Sandown however since November of 2012 three years ago when failing to beat home any runner crossing over 16 lengths away ninth behind Tanby in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m), now run as the Zipping Classic in honour of race’s four-time winner Zipping (2007-2010).
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