Mike Moroney doesn’t run horses in Group One races for the sake of it and he thinks three-year-old Poland can give the Australian Guineas a shake.
Poland has started once at the highest level when he failed to fire in last year’s Caulfield Guineas, finishing eleventh.
Moroney admitted he erred by running Poland in that race, saying in hindsight the horse was a bit weak and immature at the end of his spring campaign.
The Flemington trainer is expecting Poland to show he is a legitimate Group One galloper when he tackles the Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
Poland will be attempting to give the trainer his 48th top level winner.
“I don’t run my horses in Group One races unless they are up to it,” Moroney said.
If Moroney’s faith in the three-year-old was dented in the spring, the So You Think colt restored it with a tough first-up win in the Autumn Stakes at Caulfield over 1400 metres.
Moroney concedes the Australian Guineas is going to be another step up in grade but he is keen to see how Poland handles it this time around.
“We’ve got to take on better company and we’ve got to see whether he can measure up,” Moroney said.
“He came through his last-start win really well.”
Moroney said he hadn’t given the All-Star Mile a lot of consideration for Poland but if he ran well on Saturday he would think about a start.
Three of the five runners who contested both races gained starts via wildcards and Poland will have to be granted one to get into the All-Star Mile field.
Moroney is hoping Buffalo River can force his way into the $5 million March feature by snaring the Blamey Stakes, with the winner given a golden ticket into the Moonee Valley showpiece.
Moroney was thrilled with Buffalo River’s first-up second to Regardsmaree over 1400 metres at Flemington, feeling the horse was left a sitting shot after striking the front early.
Moroney believes the six-time winner has come back better than ever and is set for his best campaign to date.