Flemington horseman Michael Moroney is happy with the first-up run of Tivaci and is happy to set the four-year-old on the Toorak Handicap 2016 path this spring.
Last Saturday the High Chaparral stallion kicked off his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid with a solid second to Faatinah at Flemington in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m).
It was his first run since winning Queensland’s Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) as a three-year-old in early July, and his first run at his home track since his 12th to Palentino in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) back in March.
Having done exactly what he needed to fresh over the sprint distance, Tivaci will step up in class and distance second-up at Caulfield Racecourse on September 24 in the $500,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
Moroney chases his second Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes win having prepared Pernod for a win back in 2002.
The Bobbie Lewis Quality meanwhile has produced four of the past eight Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winners, most recently Rebel Dane (4th) in 2013.
Four-year-olds have the dominant record in the recent Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes results having won the past six editions on the trot including the last two with the Darren Weir-trained duo of Trust In A Gust (2014) and Stratum Star (2015).
All going well, Moroney plans to run Tivaci third-up in the $500,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) back at Caulfield over the mile on Caulfield Guineas Day, October 8.
“We’re pretty keen on running at Caulfield next in the Group 1 1400m, the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, and then safely into the Toorak Handicap.” Moroney told Racing Victoria.
“We’ll be chasing the handicaps at this stage because he’s in quite well at the weights.
“I really think that his right trip is around a mile. He has got a lot of speed for a High Chaparral.”
The past four Toorak Handicap winners came off a lead-up run in the Sir Rupert Clarke including the aforementioned Trust In A Gust (2014) who completed the double.
Despite the mile looking the galloper’s best distance, Moroney will use Tivaci’s early spring runs as a guide as to whether he’ll step him out over further with the horse still entered for the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
“A lot of [the High Chaparral’s] can’t carry it through to 2000m, and I know Tivaci couldn’t as a three-year-old, but at some stage now we may give him a chance,” Moroney added.
“He’s just such a big strong muscular horse, you just wonder at times.”
The latest all-in Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Winx ($2.40) as firm favourite to score back-to-back wins in the weight-for-age classic.
Tivaci can be found further down the futures Cox Plate betting markets at a roughie’s price of $101.
“I really think he’s just turned the corner, he’s been a horse that’s thrown a few races away by just doing things wrong,” Moroney said of the improving Tivaci.
“I’ve never doubted his ability, it’s just a matter of him getting his race sense right and I think he’s just starting to turn the corner now.”
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