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Top Of The Range and Pedro Ximenez both scored strong wins at Caulfield on Wednesday with the hint of better races to come.

Top Of The Range (pictured) overcame a tardy start to circle the field on the home turn and clear away over the concluding stages to win Heat Four of the Summer Challenge over 1600m.

Mike Moroney said he was initially concerned with the slow start from the son of Savabeel.

“The original plan was to try and ride him a bit closer and I must admit I all but gave up on his chances in the small field as they usually don’t run along that true,” Moroney said.

“That said, I thought he was quite impressive in the straight, when Patrick swapped his stick to the left hand he really quickened up,”

Moroney said Top Of The Range has come back a more mature horse this preparation following a trip to Queensland last year.

“He’s been very immature – not just the body but brain wise as well and he still has his little moments,” Moroney said.

“But he’s starting to grow out of it and he’s got real talent.

“I’d like to keep him going through this Summer Series and I’d like to think we can get him back to Queensland for the Winter Carnival as well.

“He showed good form there last winter and I think he’s improved since then.”

Pedro Ximenez made it a double for the stable with his win in the Moorookyle Park BM70 Handicap over 2400m.

“It was a good effort as he lost five lengths at the start,” Moroney said. “Then it was made harder for him when they slackened the tempo and he had to make a long searching run.

“That said he just kept coming in the straight and I think he’s going to get two miles eventually.

“He’s a High Chaparral out of a half-sister to Viewed – I think he’s 12 months away but he’s a nice stayer in the making I think.

“He’s a big raw-boned horse and we’ve taken our time with him, I think he’s got another win in him this preparation but he’s still a way from reaching his best."

Des Moines delighted Moroney with her debut effort to finish third, beaten half a length, in the 2YO Handicap over 1200m.

The daughter of War showed good speed to lead and then stayed on well to be worn down inside the final 100m.

“Very happy with that indeed,” Moroney said. “She’d shown us good ability at home so to see her run that well was no surprise and I think she’s got a bright future.

“She’s a big filly and still working it all out but natural ability will take you a long way.”

[21 Feb 18]


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