Exceed And Excel was just named Australian Champion Sire for the 2012/2013 racing season on Thursday and his progeny are already chasing more success, with Maroon Bay set to debut in the Aquanas Foods Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The exciting filly has an outstanding pedigree, out of Group 1 performer Legally Bay, and trainer Wayne Hawkes has a high opinion of the horse but believes she might be outclassed against a hot field on Saturday.
Saturday’s race may be a Benchmark 78 event but it has drawn a number of talented fillies including Darley-owned Metastasio and 2013 Blue Diamond Stakes fourth placegetter Gregers.
“It is a bit tougher race than what I thought to be honest,” Hawkes told Racing Ahead.
“I told my father that we could go and win a maiden in the country anytime so let’s put her in there but I didn’t expect to see Blue Diamond horses in the race.
“She will run good don’t get me wrong but it’s certainly a lot harder race than I thought she was going to run into.”
Experienced jockey Dwayne Dunn will ride Maroon Bay on Saturday and has an equally high opinion of the three-year-old but told Racing Ahead he is worried the lack of racing experience may hurt the debutant.
“I’ve trialed her a few times and we have been pretty impressed with her,” Dunn said on RSN.
“We didn’t expect this race to be as strong as what has presented but she deserves to be in the city, it just might be a little tough against other horses who have more experience under their belt.
“We just have to see how the race turns out but obviously it is going to be a really good form race going forward.”
Maroon Bay has not been ruled out by punters and is on the fourth line of betting for Saturday’s race behind Metastasio, Gregers and Diamond Glow.