Moriarty finished over the top of Rising Romance to return to winning form in the 2014 Craven Plate at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Jockey Blake Shinn elected to settle Moriarty towards the tail of the field, while James McDonald took up the running on Rising Romance, and gave the Clodovil gelding a very patient ride.
Shinn waited until the last possible moment before making his move on Moriarty, but the six-year-old responded very well when asked for an extra effort and got this head in front of Rising Romance in the shadows of the post to record his fourth win at Group level.
Moriarty produced an uncharacteristically poor performance when he was ridden close to the speed in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on September and Shinn said his plan was always to be patient on the six-year-old in the early stages of the Craven Plate this afternoon.
“We just went back to basics today,” Shinn said.
“I rode him very conservatively and I knew that is what is best for the horse.
“He was really good for me and I was very confident at the 600 that I was well within range and had a lapful of horse.
“He had to dig deep at the 100, Rising Romance kicked back strong, and he did a great job.
“It is nice to get him back in the winner’s circle.”
Trainer Chris Waller was very disappointed with the effort of Moriarty in the Hill Stakes, but he was thrilled to see the tough gelding return to winning form in the Craven Plate and paid credit to racing manager Liam Prior who developed the game plan to let Moriarty settle towards the tail of the field.
“You can’t panic, he is good enough, he is working well enough and he looks outstanding,” Waller said.
“That is the way to ride him and that showed today.
“He is probably a step down from a Foreteller, but almost identical ownership and geez they are great horse to have in the stable and it is not finished yet.”
Moriarty has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, but said that the imported galloper is may not contest either race and could be set for the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
“It is hard to get horses into the Caulfield Cup and we will keep our options open,” Waller said.
“Realistically a race like the Mackinnon; hopefully all the horses run in the Cox Plate the week before and it might be the year for him.”
Rising Romance had every chance to win the Craven Plate, but is still expected to back-up in the Caulfield Cup in a fortnight’s time.