Michael Moroney always thought a mile would be ideal for his dual Group One winner Tofane and that has proven to be the case.
She had previously only raced up to 1400m until last month where she ran fourth in her first start over a mile in the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) before finishing runner-up to fellow Kiwi-bred I’m Thunderstruck in the Gr.1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
“We got a bit held up in the Toorak, her weight (58kg) wasn’t ideal, but she still went terrific,” Moroney told RSN927.
“The other horse (I’m Thunderstruck) didn’t have much weight (52kg) on his back and I thought she was terrific as it would have been an equal weight carrying record for a mare if she had won it.
“I am really proud of her and she has had a really good campaign considering she only had a short break from Queensland.”
Tofane will line-up against her own sex in the Gr.1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600) at Flemington on Saturday where she is a $3.30 favourite to add a fourth Group One scalp to her resume.
Moroney has been pleased with her work since the Toorak earlier this month and is expecting her to live up to her favourite tag this weekend.
“It is ideal for her weight-wise, she has drawn well (2) and she has trained on really well,” Moroney said.
“It is a strong race, the field is going to very good tomorrow. It is not going to be an easy race, there is never an easy Group One. We are well aware that we are going to need luck in the running, but the mare is really well.
“She has got a lot of gate speed. She flies the gates and sometimes that can go against her, but she will be able to use that draw and be up in the first four or five.”
Tofane was bred by Curraghmore’s Gordon Cunningham, who entrusted her to the care of Ballymore Stables’ Matamata barn, headed by Pam Gerard, for whom she won her 820m trial at Te Teko as a three-year-old.
She was subsequently sold to Australian-based stable clients, including prominent owner Rupert Legh, and transferred to Moroney’s Flemington barn where she has won seven races, three at elite-level, and more than A$2.9 million in prizemoney. -NZ Racing Desk