Will Highway form hold up in wide-open Moruya Cup?

The Barbara Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones-trained Zouatica (yellow and red silks) and the Tash Burleigh-trained Mosgold (blue, pink and white silks) appear the two to beat in Monday’s $75,000 Moruya Cup. Image – Bradley Photos.

Tash Burleigh will start the ever-consistent Mosgold in Monday’s $75,000 Moruya Cup (1425m), and rising star Jett Stanley has taken the ride. 

In 12 starts, the Goulburn galloper has only missed a place once and has won four times, most recently mixing it in Highway Handicaps at Kembla Grange and Royal Randwick. 

Two starts back, the Sooboog mare finished second and was beaten just shy of two lengths by Zouatica in heavy conditions in a 1400m Class Three at Kembla Grange. 

Zouatica (Quayde Krogh) is coincidently the current $3 favourite for the Moruya Cup.

Mosgold, which races better on top of the ground, ran into a good four track at Royal Randwick two weeks later and demonstrated some excellent mid-race speed before winning the 1400m Class Three Handicap.

The Barbara Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones-trained Zouatica is the horse to beat on paper, with Paul Jones previously stating it was their plan to qualify their four-year-old for this year’s $3 million Big Dance.

A four-time winner from just eight starts, the Zoustar gelding has progressed through the grades nicely and looks to be one of the more exciting young Country Cup horses in NSW.

Still, the big question is, will Highway form hold up in the Moruya Cup Big Dance qualifier? 

Theresa Bateup will start 2023 winner Crackalacka (Molly Bourke, $23) and the Tara and Philippe Vigouroux-trained Lemaire (Jess Taylor, $9) has been mixing his form in town.

The two biggest rivals to Mosgold and Zouatica are the John O’Shea-trained Kokoro (Andrew Adkins, $7) and Robert and Luke Price-trained Satness (Rock Ryan, $10). 

Kokoro was a metropolitan winner earlier this year, and he’s been thereabouts in other races in town. 

Satness won a Midway at Royal Randwick in September and followed that effort up with good runs at Rosehill Gardens and Royal Randwick before finishing fifth, beaten under two lengths in the $500,000 four pillars. 

It’s undoubtedly an open Moruya Cup and the highlight of a very good eight-race showcase program.

London Gal to target Town Plate

Mathew Cahill will ride the Scott Collings-trained London Gal in Monday’s $50,000 Moruya Town Plate.
Image – Bradley Photos.

Scott Collings has elected to set London Gal for the $50,000 Moruya Town Plate (1200m) rather than try her in the $75,000 Moruya Cup and Big Dance qualifier.

London Gal was exempt from the ballot for the Moruya Cup after the six-year-old led all the way to win last month’s $30,000 Narooma Cup (1300m).

Still, it could pay to follow Collings’ decision, with the astute horseman preferring the six furlongs for the five-time winner and noted front-runner. 

The Sizzling mare doesn’t run into the hardest field either and will give this race a good sight at $5.50.

Super chances in Super Maiden 

The Daniel “Icksta” Ick Memorial Showcase Super Maiden Plate (1200m) will see a good field of youngsters competing for the $50,000 in prizemoney. 

There are plenty of local hopes, but the leading Moruya-trained chance appears to be the Michael Gatty-trained Peruno (Amy McLucas, $9.50).

A nine-start maiden, the four-year-old has placed four times from six starts this preparation, including a last-start third over the 1300m at Moruya last month following a short eight-week let-up. 

Punters have gravitated towards the Matthew Dale-trained Occhiata, which is $7.50 into $3.50.

The four-year-old should be well-versed with the Moruya racecourse but will be first-up for the new stable following a 25-week spell. 

The flying Artie mare placed at Newcastle twice in December 2022 but is still a maiden after nine starts. 

The Nat Jarvis-trained Steamed Hams ($23) ran a good race last time out, leading them up and only just going down over 1300m.

The four-year-old is always close and from the good draw, $23 seems a hefty price for the local runner. 

Moruya tips – 8/1/2024

Race 1: 4 Lerinka – $2.70 (Best bet)

Race 2: 3 No Question – $9.50 (Best value)

Race 3: 9 Occhiata – $3.50

Race 4: Bentley Brook – $15

Race 5: 4 Forty Four Cubits – $2.50

Race 6: 7 Mr Rock It – $3.80

Race 7:  10 Zouatica – $3

Race 8: 11 Deni Gal – $16