The well-bred Romantic Moon put herself into calculations for the $3.5m, Group 1 Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 6th with a smart win in the $125,000, Group 3 Les Johnson Memorial Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Romantic Moon and James McDonald with Thump and Christian Reith behind coming in second, picture Sportpix.com.au
The John O’Shea trained Gooree Pastoral home-bred filly burst into the lead with 250m to run under James McDonald and from that point the rest of the field were unable to get close to her in the run to the line.
The race was turned on its head the moment the gates opened when the $1.90 favourite Assail was slowly away with Peter Robl playing an unsuccessful catch-up from that moment.
McDonald was well placed in fourth while Calming Influence and Jim Cassidy made the running followed by Tropical Force and Brenton Avdulla and Most Joyful and Hugh Bowman. Assail was third last.
With 300m to run Calming Influence was 1 1/4L in front but quickly felt the pressure. McDonald then took charge sending Romantic Moon forward and the More Than Ready filly showed a good turn of foot to run away to take the win with a length to spare.
Thump (Red Ransom) and Christian Reith were second with Greyfilly and Tommy Berry third, the margin a neck. Vocalise was fourth with Assail sixth after Robl tried to use a rails run to make up ground,
The time was 1.10.08 on the Good 3 track, slower than the colts in the Skyline Stakes who ran 1.09.76. The final 600m was run in 35.11. Romantic Moon paid $12.00 on NSW TAB.
“She has run very well,” said O’Shea.
“I was happy with her run first up which has been well documented and we thought she was a $5 chance.
“It was a very good James ride. He was positive out of the barriers and got a lovely spot, got her balanced up and attacked the line.
“We might have to give consideration to toying with some gear (before the Slipper) and she would need to be a little bit closer in the Slipper to be honest as if she was a bit tardy away there she would be back with the cat catchers, so we might just look to put a set of winkers on her.
“But I was very happy with her and she was strong to the line,” he said.
“She was very good, her last run was good as we just got too far back on a wet track,” said McDonald.
“Today we were able to put her into the race. When I sent her for home she quickened up beautifully. She always finds and that is the thing about her in that she is push button,” he said.
O’Shea said that he had ten Gooree home-bred’s in the stable and only a lack of space prevented more taking their place at his Randwick quarters.
“She came out flat footed which is just not her,” said Clarry Conners about the favourite.
“She had to catch up and running up their backs did not help,” he added.
Conners said that Assail will now go to the $175,000, Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 30th with the winner of the race exempt from the Slipper ballot.
After the race Overreach firmed for the Golden Slipper from $4.80 into $3.80, while Romantic Moon firmed from $101 into $26. All The Talk, the Skyline Stakes winner, firmed with TAB Sportsbet from $51 into $17.
Romantic Moon is out of the Danehill mare Tropical Affair. After winning first up over 1200m at Gosford on December 19th she was unplaced in the Group 2 Silver Slipper over 1100m on a heavy track on March 2nd. Stakes are now $106,880.
Romantic Moon, picture Sportpix.com.au
Photofinish picture ATC