Hurricane Watch … Moroney Colts Storming To The Coast

Hawker Hurricane after winning the Magic Millions 2YO Clockwork Classic at Ballarat

Exciting 2YO Hawker Hurricane is a serious contender for January’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (Racing Photos)


We’re not quite sure just who in officialdom determined racehorses would run clockwise in one state and anti-clockwise in another – perhaps the same bloke who thought having different rail gauges in Victoria and NSW was a good idea – but it’s hard to get used to watching horses running right to left in the southern states.

That said, the change of direction didn’t bother Mike Moroney’s flashy colt, Hawker Hurricane, in Saturday’s $202,200 Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic over 1000m at Ballarat, who eventually ran out an impressive winner on debut.

Courtesy of the performance, the son of first crop sire, Deep Field, is now among the favoured runners for January’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast, as is stablemate, Alburq, who ran third in the Clockwise, less than a length shy of the winner.

Throughout his career, Moroney has trained over 50 Group One winners – Melbourne Cup winner Brew among them – and, despite having 2001 Blue Diamond victor, True Jewels, on the resume, he is regarded more a trainer of stayers.

“It’s a bit of a misnomer really,” Mike’s brother, Paul Moroney – a leading bloodstock agent – points out. “Sure, he’s trained a lot of very good stayers, but he’s also had some outstanding 2YOs on both sides of the Tasman as well.

“Those two (Hawker Hurricane and Alburq) should be really competitive on the Gold Coast, but Mike also has a couple of others waiting in the wings that might make it up there as well.

“Mike was in New Zealand the other day and was confident of the chances of both colts at Ballarat, explaining that both had only just the one jumpout, but that there was a lot of upside to both once they got race experience.”

Purchasing between 20 to 25 horses annually at Australian yearling sales, Paul Moroney selected 11 from the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions with four heading to Sir Owen Glenn and the remainder to brother Mike’s Ballymore Stables.

“I buy all of Sir Owen’s yearlings including the unraced Deep Field filly, Hit The High Note, that’s with Peter and Paul Snowden,” Moroney reveals. “Three of the 11 from the Gold Coast were by first season sires – the two by Deep Field, while Alburq is by Rubick.

“There were a lot of Deep Fields to choose from up on the Coast. That sireline is genuine speed and we probably didn’t get to see the best of his sire (the ill-fated Northern Meteor).

“It’s very competitive trying to snap up a precocious type at the Magic Millions so you have to work around the edges a bit and Mike buys them all himself before selling them on to clients.”

Among those clients is Rupert Legh, whose famous navy blue and gold lightning bolt silks adorn both Hawker Hurricane and Alburq. A long-time supporter of the stable, Legh has also raced Group One winners Glass Harmonium (Mackinnon Stakes) and Mr Baritone (Stradbroke Handicap) with Moroney.

“Rupert and his friends usually take up to 40% in each of Mike’s horses,” Moroney explains. “It appears like he might have a really promising one in Hawker Hurricane. As a yearling he was a big, strong type with lots of quality. Terrific walk on him, quite balanced and extremely athletic.

“Pretty sensible too for such a big bloke and I went back several times to have another look.”

Moroney eventually purchased Hurricane Hawker for $150,000 – from the Widden Stud draft, while Alburq was a $260,000 pick up via the Edinburgh Park consignment.

Hawker Hurricane, meanwhile, is out of the Bernardini mare, Bernarsini: a half sister to Melbourne Group winners, Ulmann and Mahisara, and direct descendant of 1987 Blue Diamond winner, Midnight Fever.

Hawker Hurricane is the first foal of Bernasini, who would next be covered by Deep Field’s barnmate at Newgate Farm – the I Am Invincible Group winner, Super One.

The resultant foal – a filly – will be sold under the Willow Park Stud banner at the 2019 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale and will come into the ring as Lot 916 … conveniently on the morning after the Magic Millions 2YO Classic!

“We have 14 heading up to the Gold Coast and she’s a lovely type … a cracking filly,” Willow Park’s Stud Manager, Jade Rossington, enthused. “Big, strong and very powerful. We’re really happy to have her in the draft … even happier after Saturday at Ballarat.”

Hawker Hurricane’s win also marks another success for breeder, Heath Newton, who purchased Bernasini – via Sheamus Mills Bloodstock – for $72,500 at the 2016 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale … in foal to Deep Field!

“I thought she was a $150,000 mare so, effectively, Heath got her for half price and ending up selling the Deep Field yearling for $150,000,” Mills points out. “That Super One filly is as good a yearling as I’ve seen too and, after producing a Shalaa colt in October, she’s now in foal to Merchant Navy.

“Heath is a grazier based in NSW and been involved in racing a long time, but has really stepped up in recent years. The first horse I ever bought for him – one I paid $180,000 for – was probably the slowest racehorse of all time but the next two are See Me Exceed, who is Group placed, while Persuader won the (Listed) Twilight Glow Stakes last week.

“Heath really loves the industry and bought about half a dozen well-bred yearling fillies earlier this year, while the first yearling he sold last year was an I Am Invincible colt that went to Shadwell for $600,000 and then, of course, there was Hawker Hurricane.”

HOOFNOTE 1: The 9-strong Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise field featured runners by four first season sires: Deep Field (Hawker Hurricane), Rubick (Alburq), Shooting To Win (Testino) and The Brothers War (Ancestry). Hawker Hurricane is the second winner – from five runners – for Deep Field, while Darley’s first season sire, Brazen Beau, also notched up his first winner with Tassort scoring impressively at Rosehill Gardens.

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