The Mike Moroney trained Muirfield could earn himself a Sydney Cup start if he can perform well in the Group 2 $175,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Moroney is aiming for a two pronged attack in the Group 1 $500,000 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 28 with the in-form Drunken Sailor a certain runner.
The improving Muirfield is to be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy and will get his chance to impress Moroney when takes on other Sydney Cup contenders and further improvement will see him line up in the 3200m feature.
Muirfield has handled the gradual step up in distance with a win over 1800m two start back at Sandown before an unlucky second to Extra Zero in the Listed $170,000 Albury Cup over 2000m on March 23 but will be facing 2600m for the first time.
“I thought he was pretty unlucky, he just got a little backwash when they started to sprint and it was a pretty slowly run race,” Moroney said.
“He really found the line very well last run. He looks a progressive stayer. He looked not far off them at three and was pretty immature then.”
“He’s a nice horse now he’s just got to find that little bit extra now.”
Moroney will use the Chairman’s as a crucial test for Muirfield and if he doesn’t measure up will send him back to Victoria for some weaker assignments.
“It’s decision time after the Chairman’s as to which way we head,” Moroney said.
“He’d have to run very well in the Chairman’s I think firstly to probably make the Sydney Cup field and secondly to prove to us that he’s heading that way.”
“We can always go back and run in a Warrnambool Cup or something like that.”
Moroney is very pleased with the progress of Drunken Sailor after his game third to Manighar in the Group 1 $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill last Saturday and will again take the blinkers off for the 3200m Sydney Cup.
Moroney put the blinkers back on the seven year old in the BMW after he was narrowly beaten with 60kgs when Damien Oliver rode him in the Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Cup at Morphettville on March 12 but they will be coming off again in an endeavour to get him to relax more.
“Ollie just said he over-raced a little bit with the slow pace but I’m really proud of the way he went because he wasn’t that far off Americain. It should be a good lead-up into the Cup,” Moroney said.
“He came here with a mile and a half being his best distance we were told. The only two-mile run we gave him was in the Adelaide Cup and he only got beaten a stride.”
Stablemate Wall Street will be dropping back in distance after finishing sixth to Manighar in the Group 1 $400,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 24 and will now be aimed at the Group 1 $2m Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick next week.
A Brisbane Winter Carnival program is also being considered for Wall Street with the Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 19 high up on the list.