The odds are against Michael Moroney continuing his winter winning run in Melbourne but the trainer is optimistic of a Group 1-performed miler improving into the placings at Flemington this Saturday.
Placing a $10 win bet at starting price on all of Moroney's Melbourne runners during winter would have returned a $121 profit. He has prepared seven winners and three minor placegetters from 24 starters.
During the winter period, Moroney has saddled up five favourites for four winners and a second - his lone favourite defeat coming when Milwaukee was runner-up in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final at Flemington on July 6. His past three Melbourne runners - Buffalo River, Mirimar and Star Surprise - have all won.
MORONEY'S MELBOURNE WINTER WINNERS
Sandown Lakeside (June 5), Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m) - Mirimar ($4.20);
Sandown Lakeside (June 15), 3YO Handicap (1400m) - Buffalo River ($1.95 favourite);
Sandown Lakeside (June 15), Open Handicap (1600m) - Mr Marathon Man ($11);
Flemington (June 22), Open Handicap (1100m) - Milwaukee ($4.80);
Flemington (July 6), Silverbowl Series Final (1600m) - Buffalo River ($1.55 favourite);
Sandown Hillside (July 10), Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m) - Mirimar ($1.60 favourite); and
Caulfield (July 13), 2YO Handicap (1200m) - Star Surprise ($11).
Buffalo River, picture Quentinjlang.com
Moroney has a two-pronged attack at Flemington on Saturday, led by Radipole, who ran fifth in the G1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) behind Shillelagh during 2017 Melbourne Cup week.
The son of Rock of Gibraltar returned to that track and distance for the first time since then a fortnight ago.
"We wasted a good draw last time," Moroney said, reflecting on Radipole's eighth-placed effort from barrier four in the Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) on July 6.
"He settled a little further back than what was the intention and he found himself in a spot where he needed luck and didn't get it.
"He got held up early in the straight and by the time he got out the other horses were at their top (speed) and it's hard to make ground like that."
Radipole remains over the mile at Flemington this weekend, starting from barrier 11 of 13 in the $125,000 VRC Recognition Handicap with apprentice Michael Poy ensuring he'll meet the Winter Championship winner Reykjavik 5kg better for his luckless six-length defeat.
Reykjavik is $3.50 favourite with BetEasy to win despite the hike in the weights while Radipole is at $16.
Earlier in the card, Barthelona runs in the $75,000 Flemington Event Staff Handicap (1200m) under Benchmark 78 conditions.
The five-year-old gelding by Zoffany only finished ahead of one rival when resuming at Caulfield over 1200m on June 29 but crossed the line three lengths adrift of the winner Highland Beat.
Moroney gave Barthelona 'a pass mark' and believes he may require one more run before hitting peak form third-up over 1400m - the distance at which he has claimed three of his six victories.
Barthelona is an $11 chance with BetEasy to win on Saturday, with the Saab Hasan-trained Sirius Suspect the $4.20 favourite.