Mike Moroney considers whatever Tulsa did in the spring a bonus ahead of the three-year-old’s race return.
The Group-placed Tulsa resumes in Saturday’s Manfred Stakes at Caulfield and his trainer says the gelding has made the development he hoped he would.
Like many of his Manfred opponents, Tulsa is on a path to the Australian Guineas with Moroney also flagging that race for stablemate Tivaci, a winner at Pakenham on Thursday.
“Tulsa has grown up and matured, as probably most of the horses the same age have,” Moroney said.
“But I really felt he was pretty immature in the spring so he did an excellent job.”
Tulsa’s spring campaign included a fast-finishing second in the Group Three Caulfield Guineas Prelude before a midfield finish in the Group One Caulfield Guineas.
In three of his four spring starts, Tulsa started from the outside barrier in 16-horse fields, something Moroney said was a defining factor.
The trainer’s confidence ahead of Saturday has been boosted with Tulsa to start from gate four.
“He ran second in the Guineas Prelude and ran a good race in the Guineas but kept drawing wide gates,” Moroney said.
“He’s finally drawn a reasonable barrier on Saturday and hopefully it keeps going for the autumn.”
“He’s just had the one jump-out but we’ve kept him a bit on the fresh side for 1200 metres.
“If there’s a real true 1200-metre horse in it, it will beat him. But he’s in the same boat as a lot of them. A lot of them are kicking off and with luck in running he’ll be pretty hard to beat,” he said.
The Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained Golden Spin holds favouritism for his first stakes test having won his three starts this campaign in lesser grade, including twice over the Manfred Stakes course and distance.
Both Tulsa and Tivaci are at $26 for the Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 5 with the Darren Weir-trained Mahuta at $6 ahead of stablemate and Manfred runner Palentino at $7.