A shot at stakes company is on ice for promising filly Neon Moon. But Matamata trainer Chad Ormsby is confident she can still make a splash on debut at Ellerslie on Saturday as she sets off on a path towards January’s $1 million Karaka Million (1200m) at the same venue.
Ormsby had entered Neon Moon for Saturday’s Listed Hanley Formula Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham but a heavy track there has meant he will change tack and take the $50,000 Karaka premier sales graduate to Ellerslie for the Stella Artois 880. “We’re just looking for the better track. She’s had two trials on wet tracks and while she trialled well both times, she hasn’t been able to get her feet out of the ground,” said Ormsby, now training in partnership with his brother Kade. “We’re wanting to get a run under her belt anyway. This gives us an opportunity to get some prizemoney on the board on the way to the Karaka Million. If she runs well, we’ll back off her and then target the main leadup races.”
Ellerslie was rated a Slow7 on Thursday morning, whereas Trentham was a Heavy11. Neon Moon finished third to race rival Press Baron in her first trial over 600m at Avondale on a heavy track in August then fourth to another Jamie Richards-trained Ellerslie acceptor Cool Aza Beel when fourth on a slow track in a 880m Te Rapa trial earlier this month. “She’s shown us plenty and the more she does, the better she gets,” Ormsby said. “She had to carry me in her first trial but then Jason (Waddell, jockey) rode her in the second one and he just confirmed she was terrible on a wet track.”
Ormsby races Neon Moon with his wife Aliesha under their Riverrock Farm Partnership, having bought the filly out of Wentwood Grange’s Book 1 offering at Karaka in January this year. “I just loved her at the sales. Being by Exosphere, he was a speed demon and I loved her from the first time I saw her. We were looking at buying a filly to race and chase black-type,” Ormsby said. “She was out of a quick mare that went early and she was just a filly that fitted the mould.”
The Ormsbys also have Power filly Najah entered for the Ellerslie juvenile race but could hold her for the 1000m two-year-old race at Te Rapa on November 9. “She’s trialled up really nicely and shown promise too,” Ormsby said. It has been a hectic period for Ormsby, who prepared 32 juveniles for their breeze ups at Te Rapa earlier this week, with the youngsters set to go under the hammer at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale on November 20 and 21 at Karaka. “It has been busy. Most of them we broke in ourselves and they were pretty good and the other ones that came in were generally good-natured horses too which helps,” he said.
“There are a few stars among them too. We’ve had a Deep Field colt win two trials and we’ve sold him, though the money hasn’t yet come through so he could go through the ring if it doesn’t arrive. But overall they’re a really nice group of horses.”
Formerly a Group 1-winning jockey and then junior training partner to Michael Moroney at his Matamata stable, Ormsby acknowledges that breaking-in and preparing horses for the Ready To Run Sale is his core business but he still has 10 racehorses in work and another 10 currently spelling. “Kade came to me about 12 months ago and said he was interested in training. He’d spent 10 years working for Tony Pike and was keen to make a go of it. It’s going well. We work in well together.”