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"He has a big job ahead of him," Michael Moroney said, pertaining to Saturday's Caloundra Cup favourite Shenzhou Steeds.

Yet to to taste defeat in four Queensland starts this year and last, the last start winner of the Ipswich Cup will have to dig on all his reserves of courage and class Moroney said.

"A heavy track, a lot of weight and the outside gate will make it tough for him," he said, "but he is very well - we are happy with him."

As favourite Shenzhou Steeds has been in the papers a lot this week...

Shenzhou Steeds' Caloundra Cup hurdles

by Mark Bode, Sunshine Coast Daily

THE 2400m trip and the track conditions are shaping as fancied runner Shenzhou Steeds' biggest hurdles in Saturday's $200,000 Caloundra Cup at Corbould Park, says the Ipswich Cup winner's Flemington-based trainer Mike Moroney.

It will be the first time the four-year-old gelding, the winner of last year's Listed Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at the Caloundra Cup Carnival, has been tested over the distance.

Speaking yesterday ahead of today's barrier draw, Moroney expected a heavy track on Saturday - especially if it rained today.

He said that worried him because Shenzhou Steeds had slow-track experience, but had never raced on a heavy track in 14 starts.

"On what's going to probably be a heavy track, that will be our biggest concern - the combination of both (including the distance)," he said.

"It will be pretty testing conditions, I think … it's a pretty slow track to dry out at the moment."

Like last year, Shenzhou Steeds - to be ridden by Eddie Wilkinson - has been based at Corbould Park for his Queensland Winter Racing Carnival stint.

By Ishiguru out of Sun City, he raced for the first time over 2150m in winning the Ipswich Cup on June 16 - his sixth victory.

That was the first time he had been tested past 1600m.

Shenzhou Steeds is in the middle of what is likely to be a three-race campaign, culminating with the $150,000 Grafton Cup on July 12.

He was brought to the Coast straight from New Zealand last year and had a perfect three-race record, including a second win at Corbould Park and a Doomben victory.

Moroney would be unconcerned if Shenzhou Steeds drew "outside slightly".

He said: "He doesn't like to be cramped … at Ipswich he drew (barrier) one.

"Eddie got off the fence and came out three wide.

"He was the widest runner on the corner. He seems to be better given a bit of space."

Moroney, who along with Lee Freedman was the first southern trainer to utilise Corbould Park's redeveloped facilities when they were unveiled in 2010, said he expected Shenzhou Steeds to be at his best as a five-year-old.

The Kiwi trainer is targeting next year's $500,000 Doomben Cup as he looks to move the horse up in class.
[27 Jun 12]

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