Mornington Cup 2023 distance ideal for Hezashocka

Hezashocka has been a tease for trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnrr.

The New Zealand-bred gelding keeps running above expectations in rich races that it has delayed Hezashocka getting out to a trip his trainers think he will be comfortable at.

That changes on Saturday when the gelding lines up in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) with Price saying Hezashocka is looking for the trip after two recent runs at 2000m.

“He’ll eat up the 2400 metres,” Price said.

“I’ve been dying to get him to get him to that trip again, but they keep putting these $5 million races on in front of me and he keeps teasing us that he can win them.

“Everytime he goes around in one of them, he wins $200,000.”

Hezashocka pocketed $270,000 when third in the Group 1 Champions Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last November, a further $75,000 for his fifth-place finish in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) last month and another $210,000 when fourth to Dubai Honour in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8.

First prize money on Saturday is $180,000, but there is the bonus of a ballot exemption into the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October for the winner.

Price said Hezashocka’s robustness had come around after the gelding spent time in the care of Matthew Williams and his team at Warrnambool.

“Those boys and girls at Warrnambool have made a world of difference to him,” Price said.

“All the variety of training we can give them at Warrnambool has been fantastic for him.

“He had a fragile brain, he’s a big horse and he’s still a little bit fragile in that area, but his form is good because he’s been able to be trained in that environment.

“Lady Bay beach, the heavy sand, wading behind the boat, water walkers and living outdoor has helped him greatly.”

Price is not concerned by barrier 14 on Saturday as it will allow Blake Shinn to get Hezashocka into a rhythm and ready to strike when required.

“I think you’ll see Blake Shinn build a race for him, chip away around the outside of them,” Price said.

“While it may not be an ideal track for him, it might be if he’s not interrupted.

“I want him ridden like that, get out a chip away around them, and that’s how he wants to ride him to.”

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