Aussie mission for Roch ‘N’ Horse

Roch ‘N’ Horse
Roch ‘N’ Horse will transfer to Michael Moroney’s Flemington barn later this month. Photo: Race Images

Smart sprinter Roch ‘N’ Horse will take aim at Group One assignments in Australia and will transfer to Michael Moroney’s Flemington barn later this month.

The daughter of Per Incanto has raced out of Moroney and training partner Pam Gerard’s Matamata stable with good effect, with three wins and four placings to her name from just 12 starts.

The progressive five-year-old went within a whisker of beating Levante when second in the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at her most recent start at Trentham in mid-January and is being considered for a tilt at the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 26.

“She is going to come over on February 23. Unfortunately the planes to Melbourne out of New Zealand have been held up a little bit because of delays caused by Chinese New Year,” Moroney said.

“The one that comes to Melbourne originates in Singapore and that is the earliest we could get her over.

“We have got her in the Oakleigh Plate but we are not 100 percent sure we are going to run in that. We will just see how she travels.

“The other thought pattern is we give her a trial up the straight (at Flemington) on the Friday and go straight to the Newmarket (Group 1, 1200m) on March 12.

“Then we would probably give her a bit of a freshen and head to the Sangster (Group 1, 1200m) and the Goodwood (Group 1, 1200m) in Adelaide.

“They would be the three or four possible races for her.”

Moroney has respect for the quality of sprinter in New Zealand at present, headed by top mares Levante and Entriviere, who ran 1-2 in Saturday’s Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m).

“From what I have seen, I think the sprinters in New Zealand have been reasonably good this year,” he said.

“There are so many sprint races on here in Australia, they are going to be reasonably spread and in the handicaps Roch ‘N’ Horse gets in quite well.

“I think she will be pretty competitive over here in those sort of races.”

Moroney said the feedback from the Matamata stable was Roch ‘N’ Horse, who races in the colours of breeders Little Avondale Stud, had taken a week to get over her Trentham exertions.

“She has bounced back really well now, and she was having her first bit of fast work this morning (Tuesday).”

Moroney and Gerard had also considered sending promising three-year-old Sassy Merlot across the Tasman for the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) but weren’t prepared to take the risk of gaining a start.

“We were just worried we would get on a plane and come all the way over and that is the main race for her because she is good over 1400m and if you miss the field then you are in no man’s land a bit,” Moroney said.

“We decided there are more options for her in New Zealand. She hasn’t won a stakes race yet so we decided we would like to try and do that.”

A well-held second in the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) behind exciting filly La Crique, Sassy Merlot will step out in the Listed Mufhasa FastTrack Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on March 5.

Meanwhile, Moroney was delighted with the manner in which four-time Group One winner Tofane had come through her win in the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

“She came out for a trot and canter this morning. She looked well. She has been pretty bouncy,” he said.

“We are safely through the first bit, she has eaten well and done everything right. At this stage, all going well, we will forge onto the Futurity (Group 1, 1400m).”

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