IN a rarity for the Mornington races, it was looking as though no Mornington-based trainer would get a win at the feature Mornington Cup meeting on Saturday 26 March until the local Tony Noonan stable struck glory in the last.
Despite jumping as a $20 outsider in the field, the consistent It’s Tornado Storm flew the flag for the locals swooping around the field to win comfortably by two lengths.
In front of a crowd of 5,000, trainer Tony Noonan was ecstatic to get the result on Cup day with his son, Jake Noonan, also riding the winner.
“A local horse hadn’t won all day and it’s always been a special day this,” Tony Noonan said post-race.
“It was always a good day even when it used to be on the Wednesday, but it has (gone to another level). It’s a terrific track, it’s a terrific club and I’m just so thankful we were able to win one.”
Noonan has had the five-year-old gelding in his care since March last year and has missed the placings just once in those nine starts.
He put the consistent performances down to the hard work done behind the scenes.
“My staff have done just a super job,” he said. “It’s a big fairytale type of result… it doesn’t always happen. They put in a lot of work behind the scenes. They spoiled him rotten and there’s a good reason for it.”
In the feature $300,000 Mornington Cup (2400m), the Chris Waller-trained Crystal Pegasus fought off the race-favourite Pondus in the straight to cement his spot in the spring’s Caulfield Cup.
The five-year-old gelding continued the successful run of European imports in the Mornington Cup, with them also winning the previous two editions of the race (Mount Popa, 2021 and Aktau, 2020).
The European imports provided the trifecta in this year’s Cup which saw a field of seven lineup.
The other feature on the day, the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) was taken out by a roughie, Not an Option ($41), who camped behind the speed and fended off the challenge of the race-favourite Superium to win by a length.
It continued the hot run of trainer Michael Moroney and jockey Patrick Moloney who combined to win the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap a fortnight ago.