Rejuvenated mare Tofane (NZ) (Ocean Park) has become the third horse to claim the Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap-Tattersall’s Tiara double on Saturday with a comfortable win in Saturday’s 1400m contest.
Jockey Craig Williams described Tofane’s victory in the Tattersall’s Tiara as “quite easy” after the Michael Moroney-trained mare outclassed her rivals to land her second Group One win of the Brisbane winter carnival and third elite level win of her career.
The five-year-old daughter of Ocean Park had been destined to go through the sales ring before a change of heart from the majority of her owners, who guided by Moroney’s judgement, opted to keep the quality mare in training.
Tofane has rewarded them with a brace of feature wins, adding the final Group One race of the season to her Stradbroke Handicap triumph.
It was the 52nd Group One win for trainer Michael Moroney, who was not on course but Williams, who has been in the saddle for both the Stradbroke and Tattersall’s Tiara performances, was thrilled to record his first win in the fillies and mares’ Eagle Farm feature.
“It’s a big thrill. It was quite easy actually,” Williams said.
“She gave me many options and she did a fantastic job running and I just had to steer her where we felt we were comfortable to be.”
Williams positioned Tofane ($3.50 fav) just worse than midfield and while she needed some encouragement to veer to the better part of the track in the straight, she finished resolutely once balanced up to score by 1-3/4 lengths.
“I didn’t want to disappoint her. I trusted her, she travelled sweetly for me and basically I just had to convince her to come a little bit wider,” Williams said.
“Mike Moroney and (Tofane’s strapper) Lilly gave me so much confidence coming into today. They said she’s improved from last time.”
“It’s very easy to ride a horse in the form she’s in and with her ability.”
Tofane became just the third mare to win the Stradbroke Handicap-Tattersall’s Tiara double after Dane Ripper in 1997 and Srikandi in 2015.
Tofane was bred by Curraghmore Principal Gordon Cunningham, who elected to retain the filly and send her to Moroney’s Matamata barn under the care of co-trainer Pam Gerard.
She won an 820m trial at Te Teko before Ballymore Stable clients purchased her from Cunningham and she was transferred to Moroney’s Melbourne barn.
The daughter of Waikato Stud stallion Ocean Park, Tofane is out of the Galileo mare Baggy Green, whom Cunningham later sold to Kevin and Joanne Hickman of Valachi Downs.
An impeccably bred daughter of Galileo, Baggy Green is a three-quarter sister to Group One winners Funstar (Adelaide) and Youngstar (High Chaparral). In addition to Tofane, she is also the dam of exciting stayer No Compromise (NZ) (Pins), winner of his two last Sydney starts for Chris Waller.
Valachi Downs have a weanling full sister to Tofane by Ocean Park which is set to be retained by the operation, which are noted for retaining and racing all of their fillies.
New Zealand bred horses have enjoyed another stellar season in Australia, winning 24 percent of the Group One races (18 of 75) and account for 7.3 percent of runners in Australia.