Mike Moroney is in a strong position going into Saturday’s Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick with the two favoured runners in Arrogant and Chapada.
Both horses have had different preparations, with Chapada being aimed specifically for the Australian Derby, while Arrogant has come through the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), a race he finished fourth in.
Both were impressive last start in the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), with Arrogant pushing The Autumn Sun all the way to the wire, while Chapada ran on for third.
“The good thing about both of my horses is that they can run the distance and also handle wet tracks,” Moroney said.
Moroney is hoping that Chapada has some luck as that has deserted him in his two Group One races he has contested so far, including his luckless third in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m) in spring.
Arrogant remains firm in the market as a $4.60 chance, slightly ahead of stablemate Chapada ($5.50), despite being well-held in a course proper gallop by his barn mate.
"Arrogant didn't have his blinkers on and he's a pretty lazy colt so you know I don't think that I'll take too much out of the work but certainly Chapada looked the best of the two," Moroney said of the work on Tuesday.
"We put earmuffs on Arrogant when he worked with Chapada on Saturday morning and he was quite happy to lob alongside with him, so we just thought he'd do the same on Tuesday but obviously, out on the course proper, there was a bit too much to look at.
"It probably would have been better if we put the blinkers on and took the earmuffs off, I think.
"Arrogant has come off a tough campaign and that's got to stand by him especially if we get a bit of rain too because it's going to be a tough mile and a half," he said.
Arrogant is a son of Waikato Stud stallion Ocean Park, who on three occasions has come within a whisker of snaring his first Group One winner, with Arrogant (Rosehill Guineas), Another Dollar (Queensland Oaks) and Mongolianconqueror (New Zealand Derby) all beaten by the barest of margins.
Arrogant was bred by Kevin Hickman and sold through his Valachi Downs at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales for $130,000 to noted judge Paul Moroney.
Moroney believes both of his runners will put in a good showing on Saturday and he couldn’t favour either runner heading into the Sydney Classic.
“They are hard to split because one makes his own luck and the other finds bad luck normally, but luck in the running there shouldn’t be anything between them.”
Incredibly, 11 of the 18 runners in Saturday’s Australian Derby are graduates of the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale. – NZ Racing Desk