Mo’unga primed for Doncaster

Mo’unga gave trainer Annabel Neasham her first Group One win when taking out the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) last start and she is hoping he can add a second to their tally at Randwick on Saturday.

The son of Savabeel will contest the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) where he will carry just 109lbs with light-weight jockey Robbie Dolan aboard.

He will start from barrier 19 in the 20-horse field, but Neesham said after she and Dolan had watched a number of previous Doncasters, she doesn't believe drawing a wide marble is too much of a concern.

"It's not an ideal barrier, but both of us have gone back and watched a lot of previous Doncasters and it does seem the one start at Randwick where barriers don't matter so much, winners have drawn very wide there," Neesham told RSN927.

"I am not overly concerned. If it was a 7 f or a 1 1⁄4 m race I would be a bit more wary, but it is going to suit his pattern anyway. He is going to be in the second half of the field and hopefully they go hammer and tong up front and he can run over the top of them."

While pleased with his last start winning effort, Neesham said they may need to adopt different riding tactics on Saturday.

"I think the way he was ridden in the Rosehill Guineas - I am not criticising Tommy (Berry, jockey) at all, it was a great ride – but he was taking no chances and looping the field," she said.

"I think it will be a bit harder to do that in this company, so I am sure if splits come that is probably a better way to go.

"I don't want to be taking off at the 3 f, I think you want to be making your move once you have straightened. Robbie is a great, young rider and does the weight easily. I am sure he is going to get every chance."

Neesham has been pleased with Mo'Unga  since his last start triumph and said he is thriving ahead of his weekend assignment.

"He has freshened up nicely," she said. "We didn't do a lot with him the week after. He had a nice, easy gallop on Saturday and then a better gallop on Tuesday.

"He has got a real spring in his step. I have been riding him and he feels fantastic. This morning he was having a bit of a bronc and squeal around the trotting ring, which he doesn't normally do.

"I feel there is a sense of timing to him and tomorrow is the day he is ready to go bang."

Mo'unga was purchased by Aquis Farm out of Waikato Stud's 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $325,000.

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