Mike Moroney is sticking to what has been working with sprinter Milwaukee who is favoured to improve on an already strong straight-track record at Flemington in the Victorian Sprint Series Final.
Five-year-old Milwaukee has won eight of his 24 career starts but his statistics when racing on the straight course on his home track at Flemington reads even better.
In five attempts in straight races, the Moroney-trained Milwaukee has recorded four wins with his only defeat being a second in the Listed Straight Six (1200m) two starts ago.
Milwaukee runs again on the straight course in Saturday’s Listed 1200m race for which he is the $3.80 favourite.
It is part of an outstanding book of nine rides for champion jockey Damien Oliver, who will ride the gelding for the first time.
“He’s found his real niche down the straight,” Moroney said.
“It is a pity we didn’t find it when he was a three-year-old. We probably got it a bit wrong. He won a Bendigo Guineas and being out of a Galileo mare we thought he might get a bit of a trip. But it’s ended up that he’s a 1200-metre horse, really.
“I still think 1400 metres is his right trip around corners but up the straight it takes a 1400-metre horse normally to win those races. And he loves the straight which is great.”
Milwaukee rallied late to narrowly win over 1100m in the straight last Saturday week and Moroney has been pleased with the sprinter since.
“He’s really laid back,” he said.
“I’ve got to be quite tough on him, work wise because he’s one of those horses who does take a bit of work to keep fit.”
Oliver and Moroney also team up with odds-on favourite Buffalo River in the Silver Bowl Series Final for three-year-olds and Winter Championship Series Final second favourite Mr Marathon Man.
Oliver’s rides also include odds-on favourite Organza for Godolphin in the Leilani Series Final and in-form stayer Chouxting The Mob in the Banjo Paterson Series Final.
Northern hemisphere-bred Buffalo River has impressed in two wins from as many Australian starts since joining Moroney, including a dominant 3-1/2-length Sandown victory last start.
“He looks a really exciting horse,” Moroney said.
“But the warning I’ll give everyone is he’s got 60 kilos and he’s six months behind these other three-year-olds. So if you were running a weight-for-age race he’d be getting a bit of a pull in the weights but he’s giving some of them five kilos.
“If he can win that he’s a very good horse.”