Merion impressed Mike Moroney with his performance in a jump out at Werribee this morning and the veteran trainer believes that the talented gelding is on track for the 2015 Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 7.
Merion was sent to the spelling paddock after he failed to fire in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) on October 18, but he has now been back in work for over a month and Moroney told Racing Ahead that he has been happy with the progress of the O’Reilly gelding.
“He had a jump out here this morning at Werribee and he will have one more before we go to the races,” Moroney said.
“He looks particularly well.
“All going well, he will have that jump out and we will assess where we are going to go from there.
“I am happy with the way that he is going.”
Moroney revealed last year that the Group 1 Australian Guineas would be the major 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing target for Merion, but he is yet to decide when the three-year-old will return to the races.
The Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1400m) at Sandown on January 26 and the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21 are both starting points for Merion and Moroney will make his decision after the gelding has another jump out.
“The Australian Guineas is the first one,” Moroney said.
“He will probably have two or just the one (lead-up runs).
“It just depends on whether we kick off at Sandown or whether we just wait and run at Flemington first-up over 1400.
“It just depends on his next jump out.”
Merion will likely be sent to Sydney after running in the Australian Guineas, but Moroney said that the son of O’Reilly is unlikely to contest the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 4 and is more likely to be set for the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
“I don’t think that he is going to be stretched out to the Derby distance by any means,” Moroney said.
“Even though he is bred a little bit that way, he just gives me the impression that if he is going to do that sort of thing it will be later on in his career.”
Merion started his racing career with wins in the First Light Racing Handicap (1300m) and Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) as a two-year-old and stamped himself as a Caulfield Guineas contender when he took out the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m), but had little luck in running in the Group 1 event and could finish no better than sixth.