Morpheus takes another leap forward with easy Hastings victory Sat, 30 Jun 2012
Time may be counting down on Morpheus’ hurdling career, but not before the six-year-old has a chance at completing a clean sweep of prestige jumping titles over the smaller fences.
The gelding comfortably won today’s Te Whangai Romneys Hawke’s Bay Hurdles to go with his Awapuni Hurdles victory. He will now be set for repeats in the Wellington Hurdles and then the Grand National Hurdles at Riccarton.
Graeme Rogerson, who prepares the son of Zabeel with his wife Debbie at their Tuhikaramea base, said the Great Northern Hurdles at Ellerslie was also a possibility, but weight was going to be the horse’s sternest rival.
Rogerson will pursue a steeplechasing career with Morpheus once he considers the handicapper to be too heavy handed and he is also then keen to look further afield to feature events in England and Japan.
Morpheus was given a dream ride by regular partner Richard Cully behind the pace today and they moved easily into contention with two flights to jump. “He was unreal and was always travelling,” Cully said.
They were in control before the final hurdle and cleared that safely to race away by four lengths and make light of their topweight of 69.5kg. “He was just a little bit keen down the back, but he jumped great and I couldn’t fault him,” Cully said.
A $240,000 yearling purchase who won four times on the flat, Morpheus is raced by Rogerson with Tauranga couple Pat and Lee Karton and the trainer was especially pleased for their other partner Sir Russell Pettigrew, who hails from the Hawke’s Bay.
Runner-up Yourein was brave and given every chance by rider Shaun Phelan to hold second from Bally Heights, who was also presented at the right time by tyro jumps jockey Buddy Lammas. Banna Strand was fourth and clear of the weakening pacemaker Thatz David.