Shenzhou Steeds Likely to Tackle Grafton Cup

July 4th, 2012

Improving stayer Shenzhou Steeds is likely to start in next Thursday’s $150,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) as he looks to chase a third  victory after recent success in Queensland.

The Michael Moroney-trained gelding took out the Ipswich Cup on June 23 and backed it up with a dominant Caloundra Cup (2400m) win in heavy conditions on Saturday.

In the longest race of his career, the talented four-year-old was the only horse that looked the winner as the field hit the straight, galloping clear of his rivals to win by seven lengths.

Moroney said the rising stayer was likely to continue his campaign in Grafton but his recent success also has him considering a tilt at Melbourne’s Spring Carnival.

“The plan was to run in the Grafton Cup then give him the spring off and look at Sydney in the autumn,” Moroney said.

“But the way he won that race I haven’t completely closed the door on the spring with him.

“It’s certainly given me a bit to think about so I’ll mull it over in the next few days before I make a final decision.”

If the son of Ishiguru does run in Grafton Cup, it is likely he will again be ridden by Eddie Wilkinson, a jockey who received plenty of praise from Moroney following both the Ipswich and Caloundra Cup victories.

“That’s twice now where Eddie has told us where he wanted to be in the run and then executed his plan absolutely perfectly each time,” Moroney said.

Shenzhou Steeds has proven highly impressive in the early stages of his career, winning seven times from 15 starts and collecting almost $400,000 in prize money.

Other horses likely to start in the Grafton Cup include John Thompson-trained pair Shamardashing and Saint Encosta.

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