A half-sister to last year’s Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Flying Artie debuts at Ladbrokes Park this Zipping Classic Day with the John Moloney-trained filly Pure engaged in the Listed $120,000 Thoroughbred Club Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m).
Opening the card for the last major race day of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, the set weights Merson Cooper Stakes field has attracted eight two-year-old hopefuls.
Only three of those come into the sprint with previous race experience, while the Lindsay Park-trained Fastnet Rock colt Long Leaf is the only non-maiden having won at Morphettville on October 28.
Master trainer of juveniles Tony McEvoy saddles-up the firming favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au Oohood ($3.60), the I Am Invincible filly looking fit after a lead-up trial in Adelaide.
Pure meanwhile gets the rails run from barrier one and Patrick Moloney is engaged to ride the well-bred daughter of Pierro out of Flying Ruby.
Pierro progeny have already enjoyed feature race success over the carnival with the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) win on Derby Day by three-year-old colt Levendi and the outstanding Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) success by the filly Pinot prepared by her sire’s former trainer Gai Waterhouse.
Despite the favourable draw and the benefit of a lead-up hit-out over 800m at Cranbourne, Pure is rated the $31 roughie hope of the Merson Cooper Stakes runners.
That could prove a generous price on race day according to Caulfield-based horseman Moloney who is quietly confident going into the Sandown showdown.
Her official public trial on October 23 had her finishing over seven lengths back fourth to the winner Trilli, but Moloney said she was more impressive in a jumpout on October 31 that gave her pre-race experience at Sandown.
“She went to Sandown and did jumpout nicely there and she was just still a little bit new,” Moloney told the media this week.
“She ran about as far as her condition allowed her to at Cranbourne and she went a fair bit better with a bit more practice in the jumpout at Sandown to follow that up.
“It won’t hurt her because she has got a bit of experience out at Sandown behind her and hopefully that puts her in good stead to go to the races.”
The filly may have barrier one, but Moloney said she was unlikely to be on speed early and instead would be doing her best work in the closing stages of her debut.
“She likes to finish off her work. She’s not an out-and-out runner that comes out of the box flying, the best part of her race will be the finishing part and where that takes her to, I’m not sure,” he said.
“She’s certainly going to develop into a miler later on I would have thought.”
A half-brother to Pure and Flying Artie, Give, is also on show at Saturday’s meeting running in the Group 2 $250,000 Sandown Guineas (1600m) over the mile.
The Helmet colt has won just one of his 10 career starts to date and is out to improve on a lead-up eleventh in the Carbone Club Stakes five lengths beaten by the aforementioned winner Levendi as a $101 roughie following a luckless run.
Like Pure, Give is drawn the inside alley for his Saturday assignment and is a $41 outsider in markets led by the better credentialed duo Beau Geste and Snitzepeg.