Merion failed to fire over 2000 metres during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but trainer Mike Moroney has revealed that the 2015 Rosehill Guineas is still a potential autumn target for the talented gelding.
Merion was sent to the spelling paddock after he failed to run out a strong 2000 metres in the Caulfield Classic, but Moroney feels that the three-year-old may still be capable of staying the trip.
Moroney told Racing.Com that Merion will likely return to racing in the Group 2 CS Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on February 21 before contesting the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 and he will then make the trip to Sydney for either the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 21 or the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on August 4.
“The C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) will definitely be one of his runs, whether it’s his first or his second run is the question,” Moroney said.
“He missed the Derby, so we were able to get him out a week earlier and give him a good spell and he’s really well.”
“If he does run over 2000 it will be in the Rosehill Guineas, he might be a horse that we run in the Doncaster instead.”
Merion stamped himself as a horse to watch when he made his racing debut with a comfortable win in the First Light Racing (1300m) at Bendigo on March 27 and he was set for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) after taking out the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) at Flemington on April 25.
The O’Reilly gelding started his spring preparation with a credible fourth behind Rich Enuff in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on August 23 before he recorded the third race win of his career in the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 13.
Moroney opted to scratch Merion from the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 28 rather than run him on the firm track before he finished an unlucky sixth in the Caulfield Guineas.
The Group 1 Victoria Derby (2400m) was the new target for Merion, but he finished flat ninth in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) on October 18 and connections opted not to press on to the Group 1 event at Flemington on November 4.
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