The airborne Kelly Schweida-trained...
Michael Moroney’s All Aged Stakes winning mare Tofane is the latest galloper to secure a slot in the coveted The Everest 2020 field this spring set to represent Yulong Investments in the $15 million feature on October 17.
Slot-holders Yulong Investments selected the five-year-old daughter of Ocean Park to represent them in The Everest race at Randwick next month following her eye-catching return to racing last Saturday.
“I think she will represent Yulong and her owners well,” Yulong’s chief operating officer Sam Fairgray told the media this week.
“We liked the fact she can handle any conditions, is proven at weight-for-age and will be strong in a race like The Everest.
“I think the way the race is possibly going to pan out will work nicely for her. She’s proven she’s a good tough mare and can race the elite and be competitive so it’s exciting.”
Winner of the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) over Pierata at Randwick to cap off a strong autumn campaign earlier in the year, Tofane resumed at Flemington in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m).
Carrying 58kg she finished an exceptional third only a quarter-length off the winner Zoutori in a blanket finish down the iconic ‘Straight Six’ at HQ in Melbourne.
“They cantered around and sprinted home which didn’t suit her at the weights so she only got beaten two noses so we thought it was a good run,” Moroney said of his mare’s first-up performance.
A proven sprint performer having run third in Rosehill’s Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) and three lengths back fifth to Nature Strip in the Group 1 TJ Smith (1200m) during ‘The Championships’, Tofane is a genuine chance in The Everest according to Moroney.
“She goes right-handed, she travels well, she handles all sorts of ground so she does tick a lot of boxes,” he told Racing NSW.
“While her Group 1 win was at 1400m, if you go back and watch her runs at 1200m in the autumn it’s been jockey error once and trainer error once.”
The trainer error Moroney refers to is Tofane’s seventh behind Godolphin star Bivouac in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) where she got back too far and did her best work late once in the clear.
“The run in the Newmarket was my fault, I told (Michael Dee) to get cover and I shouldn’t have, she steamed home late when she got out,” he said.
“Opie (Bosson) made a blue on her in the TJ but he learned for the All Aged.
“Her runs have been very good in all the Group 1s and I’m pretty sure she will be very competitive.
“If it is wet it will bring her into it even more, it’ll be more of a slog. She will get the right run behind what I think will be a lot of speed.”
The bookies are happy to let her go around at a big price however with the mare currently at $21 in all-in The Everest odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Moroney confirmed Tofane would race next-up in the Group 2 $300,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 3 before returning to Sydney to tackle The Everest third-up.
“The Everest was our main aim and we planned to have her there at her best,” he said.
“We’ll go to the Gilgai and we’ve always planned for the Everest to be her third run which is always her best run.”
There are now five confirmed The Everest runners for 2020 with Tofane joining: Nature Strip, Classique Legend, Gytrash and gun Queenslander Rothfire.
The Everest betting is led by the Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip at $4.
Fourth in last year’s The Everest results, the gun son of Nicconi is a four-time Group 1 winner sure to improve and atone for his first-up second to Gytrash as the beaten odds-on favourite in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m).
The race to secure a start in The Everest heats up this weekend with the running of the Group 2 $500,000 The Shorts (1100m) won in 2017 by inaugural The Everest champ Redzel.
Bivouac is current favourite in The Shorts markets, the race also seeing the return of Les Bridge’s confirmed The Everest runner Classique Legend.
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