Nerve Not Verve thriving ahead of Auckland Cup

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  • March 10, 2023
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Michael Moroney believes he has Nerve Not Verve spot on for Saturday’s Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m).

The seven-year-old mare has crossed the Tasman from Moroney’s Flemington base for a hit-and-run mission at the $500,000 staying feature at Pukekohe and he has received positive reports from his New Zealand training partner Pam Gerard in the lead-up to Saturday.

Moroney has always believed the daughter of Shocking had staying qualities, with his judgment proven with her victory in the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick last autumn, and he is looking forward to testing her over two miles for the first time this weekend.

“She is untried at two miles but is bred to get two miles,” Moroney said.

“When I had her going over 2000m Ollie (Damien Oliver) told me not to go a yard past it and I thought he was wrong, and I did prove him wrong.

“She ran out the distance in the Chairman’s terrifically and it was a really tough staying test. We are pretty sure that she will get the distance, but you never know until you try.

“She is fit and well and left here in great order and in great form. Pam couldn’t believe how well in the coat she was. When she comes right, she really thrives like that.”

Nerve Not Verve was runner-up in the Listed Torney Cup (2500m) at her last start and Moroney said that topped her off nicely for Saturday’s assignment.

“We have aimed to get her to the Auckland Cup at her best and we think we have done a pretty good job in doing that,” he said.

Nerve Not Verve was purchased out of Curraghmore’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft by bloodstock agent Bruce Perry for $60,000, and these days races in the colours of prominent owner Richard Pegum.

Meanwhile, Moroney is looking forward to heading to Flemington on Saturday where his Kiwi sprinter Roch ‘N’ Horse will attempt to defend her crown in the Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

The daughter of Per Incanto finished 10th first-up in the Gr.1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Moroney is expecting an improved performance this weekend after missing her initial first-up target in the Gr.1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) due to cellulitis in her hind leg.

“I am glad she had that nice hard hit-out in the Oakleigh Plate, because she needed it and I had to give her a decent gallop on Tuesday too,” Moroney said.

“She is a different sort of mare. She’s turned into a muscular, strong mare that has surprised me.

“I can’t fault her. I’ve been amazed with her. She’s a totally different mare and just got power everywhere.”

She will clash with stablemate and fellow Kiwi-bred Snapper, with the Gr.3 Standish Handicap (1200m) winner a lightweight prospect (52kgs) in the time-honoured handicap.

The son of Power has had a little freshen-up for the assignment, having effectively been up and racing since September last year.

“We have had him out doing a little bit of dressage and he’s had a bit of time in the paddock so we have got him as fresh as we can to aim at this race, but we are well aware that he has been up for a while,” Moroney said.

“He loves the straight. That is going to take him a long way and it’s a handicap.”

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