Romancing The Moon primed for Taupo return

Romancing The Moon winning the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m). Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Te Akau Racing co-trainer Sam Bergerson is still basking in the glory of his first-ever Group One win at Hastings last Saturday, but his focus has swiftly shifted to a busy week of racing ahead.

Bergerson, who operates in partnership with Mark Walker, expressed his elation, saying, “It was pretty surreal. You don’t have many days like that, and to have it so early on in my training career I am very fortunate.”

The Matamata-based racing operation is set to field seven runners at Taupo on Friday, with the star attraction being the recent Group One winner, Romancing The Moon.

This four-year-old daughter of El Roca had a standout three-year-old season, securing victory in four out of her 11 starts, including the prestigious Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) and the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m).

She also finished as the runner-up on four occasions in races like the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m), Listed Dunedin Guineas (1500m), and Listed The O’Learys Fillies Stakes 3YO (1200m).

After two trials to prepare for her return to racing, Romancing The Moon is ready for her upcoming challenge.

She’ll carry 58.5kg from barrier nine, with apprentice jockey Jessica Allen taking advantage of her claim.

Bergerson discussed their strategy, saying, “It is difficult for the three-year-old fillies, especially coming into their four-year-old season. We thought Taupo is a good track to kick her off on. She gets in well in 75 grade with a claim. It looks like a nice race for her to get a line on where she is at.”

Assuming her performance goes as planned, a trip to Hastings may be in the cards next month to take on the Group 3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m).

Bergerson added, “We will get through Friday and see how she measures up. There is a race on the last day at Hawke’s Bay, the Red Badge Sprint, that could be a really nice race for her if she ran well on Friday.”

Romancing the Moon will be joined at Taupo by stablemates Cognito, I Choose You, and Grace ‘N’ Grey.

Regarding Cognito, Bergerson stated, “Cognito’s form tapered off toward the end of last season after being really impressive in the Wellington Guineas (Group 2, 1400m). We have given him a couple of trials, which have been okay. We thought this would be another good race to get a line on him. We have had a bit of trouble with his back, so we are monitoring that. He seems well, and his track work has been really good leading into Friday. It is a bit of a watch and see with him.”

As for I Choose You, her future may lie at Te Akau’s Cranbourne barn in Australia, depending on her performance on Friday.

Bergerson explained, “The 1000m races could be ideal for her, so she could be one that ends up in Melbourne if she ran well enough. She needs those 1000-1200m races, and there are plenty of options for her over there. If she settles, which is the big question, she should go a good race and find herself in Melbourne.”

On the same card, promising three-year-old Superbly Written will be aiming to secure her maiden win after an encouraging debut performance over 1200m at Taupo last month.

Bergerson expressed his confidence, saying, “We have always liked her since she has come to the stable. I thought it was a nice debut run, and hopefully, she will improve with it. She has had a look around Taupo now, which helps. I know it is a short step up in trip, but we think it will suit, and all going well she can continue to progress, and we will try and get her to Christchurch hopefully.”

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