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Shenzhou Steeds heads to Ipswich

AAP: Mike Moroney has been down on firepower for this year's winter carnival but hopes are high his stable can finish on a big note with former New Zealander Shenzhou Steeds.

Shenzhou Steeds will make his Queensland return in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on Saturday with Moroney's former stable rider Eddie Wilkinson reuniting with the four-year-old.

Wilkinson rode for Moroney for almost two years shortly after finishing his apprenticeship in New Zealand in 1992.

"I had just come out of my time as an apprentice and became Mike's stable rider for about two years before I came over to Australia to ride for Bruce McLachlan when he was at Thornhill Park," Wilkinson said.

"I won on Shenzhou Steeds at Doomben last year and I rode him work on the cushion track at Caloundra this morning and he felt great.

"He's a nice horse in the making and I've got no doubt he'll run the distance."

Shenzhou Steeds, who is yet to race beyond 1600 metres, won three races in succession during his last trip to Queensland including the Listed Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at Caloundra last July.

The former Kiwi returned to Melbourne for last year's spring carnival but failed to come up.

"I think he didn't have a long enough break after he raced in Queensland," Moroney said.

"He went back home and ran a good second to Under The Eiffel at Seymour but he was very disappointing the day he finished fifth behind He's Remarkable at Flemington."

Moroney deliberately dodged the major winter races with Shenzhou Steeds as his preference was to target Cups races later in the winter.

"He'll run in the Ipswich Cup and that performance will decide if he runs in the Tatt's Cup or in the Caloundra Cup," Moroney said.

The Group Three Tattersall's Cup (2200m) will be run at Eagle Farm on Saturday week with the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) a week later.

Shenzhou Steeds earned his second trip north after winning the Cleanevent Handicap (1600m) at Flemington second-up on May 5.

Moroney offered excuses for the son of Ishiguru's last-start sixth to Cosmic Causeway at Caulfield on May 26.

"He copped a buffeting last run. I wasn't too disappointed with his performance," he said.

Shenzhou Steeds was previously trained by New Zealand's Tony Pike at Cambridge and was bought on the advice of Moroney's brother Paul after the gelding finished fourth on a heavy track at Arawa Park in May last year.

"Paul spotted him the day he won his maiden and we thought then he would make a nice stayer later on," Moroney, who is chasing his second Ipswich Cup victory, said.

Moroney won the Ipswich Cup with He's Back On Track in 1997.
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