Moriarty has claimed the scalp of Caulfield Cup fancy Rising Romance in the Craven Plate and in doing so might have catapulted himself into contention for the Melbourne race.
The horse’s narrow win in Saturday’s Randwick weight-for-age race puts him on the borderline of gaining a Caulfield Cup start.
Trainer Chris Waller’s instinct is to target the Mackinnon Stakes but he has refused to rule out running Moriarty in the 2400-metre handicap.
“I’m not going to let all the English horses get in. If Moriarty wants to go around he can go around if horses like (stablemate) Who Shot Thebarman can’t,” Waller said.
“We’ll keep our options open. Realistically, (we’re looking at) a race like the Mackinnon – hopefully all the horses might run in the Cox Plate the week before and it might be a year for him.”
Moriarty was a beaten favourite in the Hill Stakes at his previous start but punters dived back in on Saturday and he tightened from $4.40 to start $3.70.
Waller said a patient ride was the key to his form turnaround.
“You can’t panic. He’s good enough, he’s working well enough, he looks outstanding so that’s the way to ride him and he shown that today,” he said.
While Blake Shinn settled Moriarty out the back, James McDonald went forward on $2.15 favourite Rising Romance who at one stage led in a muddling-run race.
She kicked in the straight but was worn down by Moriarty.
While disappointed not to get the result, trainer Donna Logan remained upbeat about the spring.
“The lack of pace was always going to be the concern but when Moriarty came up she fought back. She didn’t chuck it in,” Logan said.
“I know her pretty well and I think I can have her right for the Caulfield Cup.”
Moriarty’s win gave Waller his second stakes win of the afternoon after Brazen Beau claimed the Roman Consul Stakes.