Mike Moroney is set to have three chances in the Winter Championship Series Final at Flemington as the trainer bids to win the race for a fourth time.
Moroney won the Listed race in the late 1990s with Happy Star and Ben’s Rocket with The Big Ask his most recent winner in 2002.
The Flemington trainer has Rhythm To Spare, Loyalty Man and Strike Force headed to Saturday’s 1600m-race and said he could make a case for all of them but barrier draws and track conditions could have a bearing on their chances.
“All three of them have got good cases,” Moroney said.
“I don’t think there’s much between them.
“If I had a little inkling towards one it would be towards Loyalty Man.
“I think he’s a pretty good horse.”
Moroney said they had a pretty good handle on Group Three winner Rhythm To Spare’s level whereas he believes Loyalty Man is still improving.
Rhythm To Spare was also nominated for a Sydney race as insurance against missing a start the Winter Championship which is based on points scored during heats of the series.
“He didn’t get many points but he’s 13th in the order of entry so he’s going to make the field,” Moroney said.
Rhythm To Spare contested only one heat last start at Moonee Valley where he was held up at crucial stages and finished unplaced.
“If he had held the lead or had a bit more luck he could quite easily have won,” Moroney said.
“I know he’s getting a bit older but he seems to be going as well as he’s ever gone.”
Loyalty Man was second over 1400m first-up at Flemington last month before finishing seventh over the same course and distance last Saturday week.
“I thought he was a bit fat still the other day,” Moroney said.
“I think that run and the extra work should have really tidied him up. He should go into this near his best.”
Strike Force earned his place with a heat win at Sale last start.
“I thought his last win was quite good,” Moroney said.
“He used to be a pretty hard-going horse but he’s learned to relax now in his races.”