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NEW ZEALANDER Michael Moroney has taken his honorary Queenslander status to another level.

Chris Roots, Sydney Morning Herald

NEW ZEALANDER Michael Moroney has taken his honorary Queenslander status to another level. The Melbourne Cup-winning trainer is backing the Reds to turn over the Blues in their Super Rugby semi-final, which he hopes to watch while celebrating a successful day at his home away from home, Caloundra.

Moroney has been a regular visitor to the Sunshine State for the winter and would like to wind up another winter carnival with success by either Tinseltown or Viking Hero in the Caloundra Cup, while recent purchase Shenzhou Steeds will start favourite in the Sunshine Coast Guineas.

However, when asked for a tip in the rugby, he offered: I'm with Queensland.

'I'm from Waikato and Auckland are our main rivals, so it's an easy decision, he continued. Hopefully I can sit down and watch it after a good day at the track.''

Moroney has based himself at Caloundra for the past couple of years and just failed to knock off the track's biggest race last year when Ironstein beat Tinseltown.

It would be good if he can go one better, Moroney said. ''He has raced well up here and deserves a win.

I think he is probably the better hope of my two but Viking Hero is a funny horse and we are hoping taking the blinkers off him will make a difference.

Tinseltown has put together a couple of nice efforts since falling in the Sydney Cup. He was runner-up in the Premier's Cup before being trapped wide throughout when sixth in the Brisbane Cup won by Tullamore.

Viking Hero's northern campaign has proved more frustrating for Moroney, who is trying to unlock the potential of the four-year-old. He ran second in the Chairman's Handicap to start the preparation then failed twice but was a game fourth in the Tattersalls Cup last week.

He is one of those horses that just won't go when racing at tight quarters, Moroney said. ''Everyone who rides him comes back and says the same thing.

One day he is going to get to the outside of them and go bang because the talent is there.

Other than Queensland tonight, Shenzhou Steeds could be the best of the day for Moroney. The Ishiguru three-year-old is unbeaten in Australia for Moroney after the stable followed the advice of raceday rider Chad Ormsby to buy him.

Chad rode him at his maiden and said he was a nice horse, so we went out and bought him on his say-so, Moroney said. ''He has come over and won his two runs over here. I'm a little concerned because we have found the third run after they come over [from New Zealand] can often be a little flat.

He is a rangy type and is going to make a handy horse.

The other aim of Moroney's Queensland winter is to get some sun on the back of his stars as they prepare for the spring. Glass Harmonium and Brazilian Pulse have finished their winter spell and are ready to return to work with the Cox Plate as a target.

Brazilian Pulse has returned to Melbourne and Glass Harmonium returns to stable up here next week, Moroney said.

''We have been coming up here for a long time and found that spelling horses up here works. I think we will look at the Cox Plate with both of them. They have both had a good break and are ready to come back.

Glass Harmonium's coat is looking very good and I think he will be a better horse in the spring.


[02 Jul 11]

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