Popular jockey Steven Arnold only has two rides at Flemington tomorrow, but is expecting strong runs from the Macedon Lodge-owned duo of Sea Moon and Mourayan.
Mourayan failed to fire during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but returned to his best form in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22 and was only narrowly denied his first win since his Sydney Cup victory by a fast-finishing Fiorente.
Arnold told Racing Victoria that he was extremely pleased with the first-up performance of Mourayan and is looking forward to partnering the eight-year-old in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
“That’d be one of his best runs at weight-for-age at that sort of level, so I’m happy to be riding him,” Arnold said.
“If he can run as good as he did the other day he won’t be far away.”
Mourayan will be contesting the Australian Cup for the third time after finishing 11th behind Shocking in the 2011 edition of the race and eighth behind Super Cool last year.
Sea Moon will be returning for his second preparation in Australia and Arnold said that he is expecting a forward showing from the Beat Hollow entire in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) tomorrow.
The imported stayer arrived in Australia with great expectations and performed well without breaking through for a maiden win at Group 1 level.
Sea Moon almost fell at the start of the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 7 and was unable to make up ground late in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 21, but returned to his best form when he was first across the line in the Listed The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 5, although he lost the race on protest to Araldo.
The six-year-old secured his first official win in Australia when he took out the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 12 and received plenty of support in the lead-up to the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), but could finish no better than 13th.
“With that prep under their belt, they seem to improve and he’s obviously in that situation,” Arnold said.
“I’ve been doing a little bit of work on him and he seems in great order, so in a race like you could see him running really well.
“He’s probably pretty well in at the weights and I’m looking for a good run from him.”
Mourayan ($21) is currently rated as an outsider in 2014 Australian Cup betting markets, despite his strong Peter Young Stakes performance, while Sea Moon is on the fourth line of Blamey Stakes betting at a quote of $7.50.