Moroney Pleased with Merion Ahead of Caulfield Guineas Campaign

August 19th, 2014

Stamping his claims as one to watch via two exceptional performances in his maiden racing preparation through autumn, trainer Mike Moroney has confirmed Merion will begin his 2014 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) preparation in this weekend’s Listed Mitchell McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

Securing a perfect record of two wins from as many starts through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Merion has not been seen at the races since charging home to win the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) by close to a length on April 25th.

Reportedly taking well to his time in the paddock and return to work, Moroney told AAP he is yet to decide on a course of action for the O’reilly gelding beyond the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, but is confident of a strong first-up performance this weekend.

“His main aim is going to be the Caulfield Guineas and then we’ll just take it from there as to whether we go a bit further,” Moroney said.

“He’s bred to get a bit further and Steve (Arnold, jockey) said after Friday’s jump-out he was starting to feel like 1200 metres is going to be a bit sharp for him.

“He’s going to want to get to 1400 metres and a mile pretty quickly.

“He’s a lovely horse and he’s really matured as well with his break.

“To the eye he looks a better horse.”

While undoubtedly at his best when winning the Listed Anzac Day Stakes most recently, Merion more than staked his claims for a Group 1-geared Spring Racing Carnival when winning the First Light Racing 2.y.o Handicap (1300m) with complete ease on debut; the same event claimed by 2013 champion Long John on his way to Caulfield Guineas glory.

Nominated alongside 25 other possibilities for the 2013 Mitchell McKenzie Stakes, Merion will be confirmed amongst a final field of 13 by Wednesday morning.

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