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Melbourne campaign for Santa Catarina (NZ)

Stakes winner Santa Catarina (NZ) has joined the Melbourne stable of Mike Moroney and will have her first hit-out of the new season at The Valley on Saturday in the $125,000, Remembering Mikaela Claridge & Melanie Tyndall Bm 84 Handicap (1200m).

Raced by prominent New Zealand owner Lib Petagna, Santa Catarina was previously trained in New Zealand by Stephen Marsh for whom she won five of her 17 career starts, including the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (1100m) at Te Rapa.

Moroney said the mare had joined his Flemington team about three weeks ago, shortly after she finished fourth in a 1000m race at Te Rapa first-up from a spell early this month.

"Lib Petagna and I race quite a few horses together," Moroney said.

"I trained his first Group One winner for him, a mare called Clean Sweep and he had a share in Tivaci and Alabama Express, so I have always trained for him.

"He wants to send her over here and possibly go to (stallion) Alabama Express so for that reason she came to Melbourne.

"But they were open to how she is racing.

"She could go to stud this year or she could race on. It just depends on what sort of form she is in in her next couple of runs."

Moroney’s biggest concern heading into her 1200m contest on Saturday is the rising five-year-old Savabeel mare's outside barrier in the 11 horse field. 

"She's had one run back where she got back on a heavy track and ran home and then she came over here," Moroney said.

"She seems good. The pieces of work we've done with her she has worked well and she seems to have settled in well.

"But it's just a disappointing barrier draw."

Victoria's 2019/20 leading apprentice Campbell Rawiller rides with 56.5kg.

Flemington based Mike Moroney, picture Quentinjlang.com

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