Aktau primed for Mornington Cup assault
Imported stayer Aktau will be racing for a spot in the Caulfield Cup when he lines up in the Mornington Cup.
Trainer Mike Moroney has aimed the stayer at Saturday’s 2400m-Listed race which assures the winner a start in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October.
Kings Will Dream won the 2018 Mornington Cup and went on to finish sixth behind Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup as the $5.50 favourite, one of the few winners to take advantage of the guaranteed start.
Last year’s Mornington Cup winner Self Sense failed to recapture his autumn form in the spring and was spelled before the Caulfield Cup.
Formerly with English trainer Roger Varian, Aktau has raced three times in Australia, winning first-up at Flemington in December and again most recently in a 2000m handicap at Caulfield on February 22 when he beat Saturday’s Mornington Cup Prelude winner Inverloch.
Aktau’s defeat came at the hands at Just Benjamin, a likely opponent on Saturday, over 1800m at Caulfield on February 1.
Moroney is not concerned that Aktau will have had had a four-week break between starts and described the race an important stepping stone for his future.
“It will be four weeks between runs but he’s the sort of horse that I think we’ll be able to get away with it with,” Moroney said.
“I’ve done some fast work with him to get him ready which is a bit earlier than normal because I’m well aware he’s got to go a mile-and-a-half.
“It’s his first campaign and we’re hoping he can win it to qualify for the Caulfield Cup and make it a bit easier on him.”
Moroney says he is still learning about Aktau but believes the ability to be a spring player.
And with further racing experience Moroney said Aktau would handle the 2400m.
“Jye (McNeil) said he did a good job last time because he over-raced for a while,” Moroney said.
“He said he deserved not to win, but he showed a bit of grit.
“He’s a winner, and winners want to win, which is a good sign.”
Aktau is one of 23 entries for the Mornington Cup headed by Harlem, winner of the 2018 and 2019 Australian Cup and fourth in his attempt at a hat-trick last Saturday week.