Moruya Cup tips, trials, and tribulations

The Greg Stephens-trained Peyton Place won the 2022 Moruya Cup for jockey Koby Jennings. Photo: Moruya Jockey Club.

The Moruya Jockey Club will host their eight-race showcase Moruya Cup program on Monday, January 2.

The feature on the program, the 1425m Moruya Cup ($75,000), is a qualifier for the $2 million Big Dance and $500,000 Little Dance, while the 1200m Moruya Town Plate ($50,000) complements what is a very competitive Country Cup program. 

For fields click here and for more on the race day click here.

Race 1 1 Mr Rock It – $1.55

Mr Rock It was racing consistently for Robert and Luke Price at the provincials before finishing sixth in town last start, beaten just 1.8 lengths in a Benchmark 72 Handicap at Royal Randwick on December 17.

This is a huge drop back in class, and Olivia Chambers will have the job of piloting the short-price favourite around in the first race on the day. 

Race 2 4 Quire – $3.60

The Natalie Jarvis-trained Quire was ultra-impressive when first-up at Goulburn, finishing strongly to run second, beaten just half a length by Master Joe on December 16. 

She’s back on her home track, she draws well with gate one, and Shaun Guymer should be able to give the three-year-old a soft run, allowing her a good crack at the leaders when it matters most.  

Race 3 3 Free State – $3.90

This race has been knocked about by scratchings, with only five starters going around.

The Sarah Murray-Leslie-trained Free State has been racing well, finishing third at Goulburn and third at Kembla Grange over longer distances.

The small field should suit, and Molly Bourke should have plenty of room to find space and hit the line hard.

Race 4 4 Greaves – $11 (Best Value)

Local trainer Natalie Jarvis has five of the eight starters in this event, making it a difficult race to pick. 

Still, Greaves resumes here, and he has a good first-up record (4:1-1) and last preparation, he wasn’t disgraced in a Highway Handicap when beaten by So Country at Royal Randwick on July 16.

Billy Owen takes the ride and connections draw nicely with gate one. 

Race 5 9 Get ‘Em In – $12

There could be some value on offer with the Claire Lever-trained Get ‘Em In in this event. 

Racing at the provincials when on debut, she wasn’t disgraced when beaten 5.3 lengths.

This should be an easier assignment, and the three-year-old will be better for the run when racing second-up from the good draw. 

Race 6 4 Espirito – $2.30

This is a very good Moruya Town Plate field, with local chance Kattegat ($10) and 2022 winner Akeed ($8) set to be major players, but they run into a handy galloper in the form of the Paul Murray-trained Espirito. 

Of late, the Kembla Grange galloper has raced in town, and last start he was beaten 1.58 lengths when finishing fourth in a Benchmark 72 Midway at Royal Randwick on December 17.

He’s an on-pace type that’s drawn well and Winona Costin will look to dictate proceedings from the good draw. 

Race 7 14 Toretto – $5.50

It’s another good Moruya Cup field in 2023, and the up-and-coming Toretto is hard to look past.

Trained by Matthew Dale, the Moruya runner is a five time winner from just 17 starts, but he gets in with 54kg and Jeff Penza takes the ride. 

The five-year-old won an Open Handicap at Canberra two starts back, and he looks set to benefit from the potential early speed battle, as he generally likez to finish off his races strongly.  

Race 8 6 Cash Register – $5 (Best Bet)

The Barb Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones team is in good form and Cash Register has been knocking on the door of another win. 

The five-year-old ran three minor placings on the trot in November and December before a last-start fifth when beaten 2.2 lengths over this distance and at this track on December 18.

He’s never far away and Quayde Krogh will get a chance to give him a soft sit in behind the pace from the good draw.