Nearly 12 months to the day, last season’s Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) winner Not An Option was back in the winner’s circle when scoring an easy win in the A$150,000 Choices Flooring Handicap (1400m) at Flemington.
The Mike Moroney-trained five-year-old has raced solidly in stakes company since joining the Flemington trainer’s stable, and relished the drop back to a handicap as he notched his fifth win from 23 lifetime starts.
Originally prepared by Tony Pike in New Zealand, Not An Option was a high-class two-year-old who won the Gr.2 Challenge Stakes (1100m) as a juvenile.
The Not A Single Doubt gelding has also had stints with Richard and Michael Freedman through the COVID period.
“He just needed a little bit of luck and things go his way,” a delighted Moroney said.
“He’s a really good horse and no matter who’s trained him has said that and I’ve taken that on board and he’s certainly showed me the same and finally we got it right,” Moroney said.
“He’s been a long time out of the winner’s scene, but things have gone wrong, as they do, barrier draws, but he’s quirky and he needs things to go his way and he got it today.
“It was a lovely ride, he was going to get caught five wide, went forward and go on the back of the favourite and it looked game over before they turned for home to me. It was a good confident ride.”
Moroney indicated the Gr.3 Victoria Handicap (1600m) at Sandown on April 8 was a likely next assignment.
Not An Option was ridden by Patrick Moloney who has made no secret of his fondness for the horse.
“I’ve had a lot of time for this horse and Mike has too, I think he’s a highly-talented galloper, but he’s a bit of thinker and we changed a few things up today, we let him be the boss.
“He’s been bolting around to the barriers on me his last couple, and just using up a bit too much energy.
“Thanks to the clerks, they do a fantastic job, Bobby Challis took me around, but if it’s not him it’s one of the Patterson boys or the girls helping out, and they took him around and he was quiet as a mouse.
“He just conserved all that energy and he raced like a different horse. The run couldn’t have worked out any better in transit and he let go like the horse I always thought he was so hopefully he can start fulfilling that promise.”
Pike went to $240,000 to purchase Not An Option from the draft of Curraghmore at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales.
Not An Option is out of Chintz, whom Pike trained to six wins including the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m), backed up by placings in the Gr.1 Easter Handicap (1600m) and Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m). – NZ Racing Desk