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Merion Contests Tulloch Stakes

Sydney is again the focus of feature racing over the weekend and we look forward to saddling up the classy Merion in one of the main races on the Rosehill card, the Gr.2 Tulloch Stakes.

Nicely primed for the rise to 2000m at his fourth run this preparation, Merion has been shaping well but just found the Flemington track a bit firm when he contested the Gr.1 Australian Guineas.

Far from disgraced when a close up sixth in that event, Merion has progressed nicely since and has had plenty of practice around the right-handed way in preparation for his Sydney debut.

"We have done a bit of work with him round that way here at Flemington," Michael Moroney said, "and he has handled it without any problems"

"We have been very happy with him and he has drawn well in barrier 2."

"The drop in class will help him and with Steven Arnold aboard again he should prove hard to toss - it looks a winnable race for him."

Mornington's Saturday stand alone meeting is a strong one at which we have three runners kicking off with Devonshire Duke in the fifth race, the Land Engineering Handicap.

A winner over 1500m at Rosehill two runs back and somewhat unlucky at that same track last time, Devonshire Duke steps up to 2000m, a trip at which he boasts a consistent record.

"We are hoping for a little bit of rain," said Moroney. "He has solid dry track form but as he has got a bit older he likes a bit of give."

Always wide from the outside gate at his latest outing, Devonshire Duke jumps from barrier six this time and hopefully with Patrick Moloney aboard will enjoy a better run in transit.

Top weight in the following race, the Nepean Waste Handicap, Jemerica was a game third against the boys last time out and will appreciate racing against her own again.

"She is going really well," Moroney noted.

We wait until the last on the ten race card for our third Mornington runner, the in-form Our Valdivia looking a top chance in the Mitavite Challenge Final.
Impressive winning his last couple at Sandown and Sale, the Don Eduardo four-year-old has been up for a while but he continues to thrive.

"He is in terrific form and we just can't fault him," Moroney said, adding that "he has been going as well leading into this race as he has going into any of his wins."

[27 Mar 15]

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