Milford poised to make amends

Rejuvenated gelding out to atone for last-start hard-luck story at Caulfield.

MILFORD winning the L.V Lachal Handicap at Flemington in Australia.
MILFORD winning the L.V Lachal Handicap at Flemington in Australia. Picture: Racing Photos

It did not take long for Milford's recent drought-breaking long-odds win to be forgotten by the Mike Moroney stable.

The Savabeel gelding got home at $31 at Flemington on May 18 but was then desperately unlucky at the same track three weeks later.

The six-year-old got shuffled back to last on the home turn and struggled for clear running for most of the straight but still finished fourth, beaten 1-1/2 lengths.

As galling as that result was, it confirmed to the stable what they felt coming into the campaign and has the team buoyant ahead of this Saturday's $150,000 Marshall White Quality (2000m) at Caulfield.

"He's absolutely flying," Moroney's racing manager Anthony Feroce said.

"Everyone saw his run last start. As Declan (Bates, jockey) explained it, every time he zigged he should have zagged and it was like watching a car crash.

"He gets back to Caulfield, where he's won at this distance. We can't fault the horse."

Feroce is convinced Milford is going as well as he's gone since crossing the Tasman after his second to Rocket Spade in the 2021 New Zealand Derby (2400m).

That is a promising report given he has won an Easter Cup (2000m) and Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Group 3 level since being based at Flemington.

The Easter Cup win came from barrier one, which gives Feroce confidence he will be able to make the most of barrier two this weekend.

"He's won races leading, but this prep we've found out he seems to be much happier chasing them," Feroce said.

"So, he likes being ridden a bit colder, but that would mean he's going to need luck from the barrier."

Luke Currie replaces Bates aboard Milford, who is challenging last-start winner Foujita San for favouritism in the Caulfield event.