The Michael Moroney-trained mare Tofane commenced her final campaign with an all-the-way win in the Gr.1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday, her fourth victory at the elite level and all over 1400m.
The six-year-old daughter of Ocean Park was the pacemaker by default after expected leader Lightsaber bombed the start. Jockey Mark Zahra rated Tofane to perfection and she looked the winner a long way from home.
Sent out a $7.50 chance, Tofane ultimately had a length and a half on runner up Lighthouse, with Cascadian in third, while I’m Thunderstruck and Inspirational Girl were the best of the closers finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
Moroney admitted he was confident of a good fresh-up performance.
“She came out this morning and looked really on her game,” Moroney said.
“It was a really good ride by Mark.
“We thought the three-year-old (Lightsaber) would lead and we’d go and sit outside it and if something wanted to come around three-wide, we’d get in the running line. The three-year-old was slow away and it was a good front running ride.
“She was never going to be beaten from a long way out.”
The winner of the Gr.1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in 2020, the mare was entered in the Gold Coast broodmare sale last year, however connections elected to keep her in training for another 12 months, which has proved a fruitful decision.
The Kiwi bred added wins in the Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and Gr.1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) to her resume last winter and performed with credit in the spring, placing in the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Gr.1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
“I think if you look at her record she is always better after Christmas. Mares generally are. She’s got the dapples out in her coat now,” Moroney said.
“She’s done a really good job to recuperate because they don’t get a lot of time between the spring and the autumn, so a great job by her.”
“We’ll go to the Futurity (Gr.1, 1400m) and then we’ll either stay here or head up to Sydney. Sydney would be her swansong I would say and then she will go through the sales at the Gold Coast.”
Tofane was bred by Curraghmore Principal Gordon Cunningham, who elected to retain the filly and send her to Moroney’s Matamata barn under the care of co-trainer Pam Gerard.
She won an 820m trial at Te Teko before Ballymore Stable clients purchased her from Cunningham and she was transferred to Moroney’s Melbourne barn.
The daughter of Waikato Stud stallion Ocean Park, Tofane is out of the Galileo mare Baggy Green, whom Cunningham later sold to Kevin and Joanne Hickman of Valachi Downs.
An impeccably bred daughter of Galileo, Baggy Green is a three-quarter sister to Group One winners Funstar and Youngstar. In addition to Tofane, she is also the dam of smart stayer No Compromise.
Valachi Downs have a yearling full sister to Tofane by Ocean Park which is set to be retained by the operation, which are noted for retaining and racing all of their fillies.
Proven sire Ocean Park is represented by 39 yearlings at the forthcoming New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales which commence on March 7, with 31 in Book 1 and eight in Book 2.
New Zealand bred horses are enjoying another fine season in Australia and have now won 9 of the 32 Group One races (28%) conducted to date. -NZ Racing Desk