Queensland Derby hopes will be put to the test when Top Of The Range races in the clockwise direction for the first time at Rosehill.
The lightly raced Mike Moroney-trained gelding has won both his starts this campaign, a Pakenham maiden and Sandown midweek race, and the Flemington trainer believes the interstate trip could be the making of the three-year-old.
Saturday’s Sydney Markets Foundation Handicap (1800m), in which Top Of The Range will again be ridden by Patrick Moloney, will provide a stepping stone to a potential Queensland Derby tilt.
“Patrick is going to go up there to ride him and it was his choice,” Moroney said.
“He wants to follow him and thinks he’s pretty good.
“We’re half-way to Queensland with him so if he does happen to win or go well right-handed, and we’re happy with him, then we’ll probably box on and have a go at the three-year-old staying races up there.”
Moloney also has another six rides at the meeting, including Pornichet in the Lord Mayor’s Cup, in what will be his first visit to Rosehill.
The Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) in Brisbane and Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) are on the radar if Top Of The Range performs well.
Moroney said Top Of The Range had a lot of potential but had not been the easiest horse with his race day manners.
“He’s getting there and I think the trip away will do him the world of good,” Moroney said.
“He had been getting pretty tough to deal with on race day. I thought he was a long way better the other day (at Sandown), but first-up we were struggling to get him to the start.
“Once we did he performed terrific, but he’s just got to grow up a bit.
“If he does he’s got any amount of ability.”