Trainer Mike Moroney would have taken Aktau on a long drive had he not made the Turnbull Stakes field

How would the Murtoa Cup form stack up in a Caulfield Cup?

Flemington trainer Mike Moroney would have been happy to find out had circumstances forced him to take Caulfield Cup-bound stayer Aktau to Murtoa.

Aktau would have had to travel 300km and carry 65kg in the $45,000 Murtoa Cup but the race was a serious option for Moroney had Aktau missed out on a Turnbull Stakes start.

“We would have headed to Murtoa if need be but he looks like he’ll get a run in the Turnbull Stakes, which was the preferred race,” Moroney said.

The import is a guaranteed Caulfield Cup runner because of his Mornington Cup win in the autumn.

So it was a matter of Moroney finding a 2000m race for Aktau’s final lead-up run to the $5 million event on October 17.

Flemington trainer Mike Moroney will run Aktau in Saturday’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.Source:News Limited

Aktau was one of 23 nominations for the $500,000 Turnbull Stakes but is a certain starter in Saturday’s race at 13th in the ballot order.

Aktau finished 3-½ lengths from The Chosen One at his first spring outing at Flemington on September 12 but Moroney said the son of Teofilo had excuses for his unplaced run.

“He didn’t have a lot of luck first-up. He was posted three-wide with no cover for all the race,” Moroney said.

“He’s come on for that run and the 2000m will have him ready for the Caulfield Cup.”

Daniel Moor will ride Aktau in the Turnbull Stakes.

The five-year-old is a $26 chance in TAB’s early Turnbull Stakes market.

Originally published asBizarre Turnbull back-up plan

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