Mike Moroney knows it’s always best to look forward in racing whether winning or losing. But sometimes it takes a little longer than normal to move on from a narrow result.
The Autumn Sun carried on his merry way last Saturday at Rosehill when he took his fifth Group 1 from just nine starts, but for every winner there are losers and on this occasion, Moroney felt double the pain.
Firstly, it was his brave New Zealand colt Arrogant that refused to yield to The Autumn Sun in the home straight of the Rosehill Guineas. He sat on the pace throughout and was the only horse to stick with the champion as they raced down the straight for the Group 1 classic, only to fall centimetres short on the line.
Some two and a half lengths further astern in third place was Moroney’s Bullet Train gelding Chapada, who has a history of poor luck in feature races and once again the luck did not fall for the three-year-old.
Similar to last spring’s Victoria Derby, where Chapada finished third after being held up at a vital stage of the straight, he lost his position shortly before the home turn. At that stage he and his rider Damien Oliver were chuckling as they were cruising on the inside of The Autumn Sun.
But then the runs came and horses kept coming back into his lap. Finally, he wriggled clear and got within two and a half lengths of the winner.
"It was a little bit like the (Victoria) Derby in that he was in a nice spot but then horses took off and he got into a pocket when one or two of them stayed in and couldn’t get out," Moroney said on Monday.
"It was about for a furlong too and it probably made the difference."
So, Chapada has been luckless in two of the biggest classics for the year but Moroney knows that eventually fortune evens out. "I’m hoping he’s saving it (luck) for the ATC Derby," he said.
"He’s got enough talent to have win these traces. Even Ollie (Damien Oliver) said if he’d drawn a gate in the C.S. Hayes, he would have gone close to winning it.
"He’s a good horse but he’s just been luckless.’’
Moroney will have two chances this Saturday in Sydney to land a Group 1 as he saddles both Vengeur Masque and Sound in the $1.5 million Tancred Stakes (2400m) at weight-for-age at Rosehill.
Vengeur Masque dislikes wet tracks so Moroney admits taking him to Sydney could be again tempting fate as heavy rain has fallen on the day of his past two grand finals – in last spring’s Melbourne Cup where he ran 15th and at his most recent start in the Auckland Cup, where he finished fifth.
"They say it (weather) is supposed to be tidying up a bit this week so we’re hopeful of getting a firmish track or at least one that’s not heavy," Moorney said. ‘"But this bloke can bring rain with him, so its fingers crossed with him.
"He’s going really well. He just needs the right footing and he’ll be right in the finish."
Vengeur Masque still has some doubters so will be at generous odds but not as generous as those to be offered about his stable mate Sound, who has not been able to get warm in three runs in Australia.
But Moroney expects to see something this weekend.
"He’s a much better horse than how his form reads and this is the first time we’ll see him where things are going his way," Moroney said.
"I was forced to run him in the Australian Cup as it was the only race for him to get him ready and we had a bit of a checkered path getting into that too.
"He’s good now and this is probably the first time we can have a good look at him.
"We could start with a better barrier draw as he’s hard three poor draws here.
"He can position up but he’s had wide barriers. I the Caulfield Cup, we should have gone forward and in the Melbourne Cup, we did and got caught four or five wide out of the home straight.
"He’s an out-and-out stayer and if he finds his best form, they’ll know he’s around."
The Autumn Sun just prevails outside Arrongant (NZ) in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), picture Stevehart.com.au