Tokorangi chasing Group 1 Schweppes Oaks win at Australian debut for Mike Moroney stable

Flemington trainer Mike Moroney is always happy to take horses to Adelaide for Group 1 races.

Moroney won his first Australian Group 1 race in Adelaide when Our Heavenly Body won the South Australian Oaks in 1989. That win was well before Moroney made a permanent move to Australia and more than a decade before the trainer’s Melbourne Cup triumph with Brew.

The South Australian Oaks since dropped to Group 3 level but Moroney will have a crack at Saturday’s Group 1 Schweppes Oaks with the $11 chance Tokorangi.

Tokorangi will make her Australian debut in the Morphettville contest but she brought a solid record with her across the Tasman.

The filly won at Group 2 level over 2000m two runs back before a sound midfield finish, beaten three lengths, in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on March 7.

“She didn’t get the best of runs in the Derby,” Moroney said. “She’s not very big and she just gets knocked around a wee bit.

“She beat the colts in the Group 2 lead-up and she looks in the leading three fillies in New Zealand.”

Mark Zahra will ride Tokorangi in Saturday’s Group 1 Schweppes Oaks at Morphettville. Reg Ryan / Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Tokorangi hasn’t raced in nearly two months but Moroney said that won’t be an issue for the stoutly-bred filly, who is out of a Savabeel mare.

“A lot of those Savabeels are lightly-furnished fillies but they can stay and they can gallop,” Moroney said.

“They think she’s better on top of the ground but she’s bred to handle it if there’s rain.”

While Tokorangi has shown staying potential, Moroney has not looked at the three-year-old’s spring prospects.

But he said he wouldn’t be surprised if a filly emerged from the Schweppes Oaks to become a player in the spring.

Last year’s Oaks winner Toffee Tongue was narrowly beaten by Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and Group 2 Matriarch Stakes last spring.

“There’s usually some up-and-comers that make their mark in that race because it’s a slow maturers’ race sometimes,” Moroney said.

“I don’t know if she’s going to make a Cups horse but we’ll have to find that out.”

Mark Zahra will ride Tokorangi in the Schweppes Oaks.

Originally published asOaks win would be heavenly for Moroney

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