Dragon Storm winning the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m).  Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Trans-Tasman options for Ballymore stayers

NZ Racing Desk
30 November 2021

Fresh from success in the feature staying races at Caulfield last weekend, Flemington trainer Mike Moroney is mulling over options for Dragon Storm and Sound.

Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) winner Dragon Storm had been disappointing in his three runs leading into his fast-finishing victory in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m), while imported galloper Sound won his second Gr.2 Zipping Classic (2400m) in succession.

While there had been thoughts of sending Dragon Storm back to New Zealand, those plans are now on ice.

“It is more than likely we will have a tilt at the Bagot Handicap (Listed, 2800m) and then the Adelaide Cup (Gr.2, 3200m),” Moroney said.

“According to Mr (Alan) Fu, the owner, because he had an operation on a knee as a young horse he doesn’t go as well right-handed. He is not as good that way around so we are looking at the other way around which these two races are.

“He has come through the run really well.”

Dragon Storm was prepared by Ruakaka trainer Chris Gibbs to win the New Zealand Cup, with the owners later electing to try their hand across the Tasman and sending him to Moroney, who also operates a stable in Matamata in partnership with Pam Gerard.

“He had a nice break in New Zealand before he was able to get here and he hasn’t had that many runs for an older horse, and he has only had four runs this campaign,” Moroney said.

“I think we can keep him ticking over with little changes in environment and that sort of thing. We have got him up and fit now and he seems to love the stable life.

“We will just change things around a little bit between the farm and the stable and I think we will be able to keep him up for those couple of runs.

“He had a little change up in his work leading into Saturday and popping him over logs and the final one was a gear change (blinkers off and nose roll on). The combination of the three or anyone of them turned him around,” Moroney said.

Meanwhile nine-year-old entire Sound has options on both sides of the Tasman as he draws closer to retirement, with Moroney keen to find the son of Lando a home at stud in New Zealand.

The A$1.75 million earner showed plenty of dash to charge home and land the Zipping in what was a sit and sprint contest.

“He has come through the Zipping win pretty well, he knows he has had a run. He pulls up a little bit gingerly after each run and we just usually just swim him and bounce him through it,” Moroney said.

“Usually about day four we will know how he has come through it.

“He has eaten well and that is a good sign so we are hoping in four or five days we can make a plan with him.”

Kiwi owners Gerard Peterson and Rod Duke, who own half of Sound between them, are keen for the stayer to head to New Zealand but follow a weight-for-age path in preference to the Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) which is a set weights and penalties race.

“They are keen to get him back to New Zealand to run him in the Zabeel Classic (Gr.1, 2000m) over Christmas and then possibly miss the Auckland Cup and run in the weight for age races instead (Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes, 2000m and Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes, 2000m) because they think that might help him as a stallion if he won one or two of them,” Moroney said.

“That is something we will consider, while there is also the Tancred (Gr.1, 2400m) and the Auckland Cup (3200m) as options.

“He hasn’t got a record over two miles, he has been placed but up to a mile and a half looks his right trip.”

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