Seamus Mullins confirms next step for Moroder as seasonal return is hampered by weather
The eight-year-old has won the last four of his six starts over fences, although plans to start him in the Tommy Whittle Chase were put on hold when Haydock’s Saturday card was abandoned due to a frozen track.
However, the Ann Leftley’s gelding needs to relax before he can take his chance in the 3.4m event.
Mullins said: “He was supposed to walk at the Tommy Whittle but will probably head to the Mandarin in Newbury.
“I wouldn’t go to Newbury with anything but soft because he’s a horse that needs a proper winter floor. That would be the obvious choice, but unfortunately it’s not as valuable as the Tommy Whittle.
“We might return to Haydock in January if not. We really want to get him out. He had a minor setback and was ready to run at Exeter, but he had a minor muscle pull that set him back a month.
“That meant we were ready to run at the end, and then the freeze came.”
Moroder was ridden relatively lightly but was extremely consistent, winning six and finishing second in a further four of his 15 starts under the rules.
He’s only been out of the top two once in his last eight games, the final year of his season arc.
His handler from Wilsford-Cum-Lake, Wilshire, says a patient approach is beginning to pay off, although he has been warned he may need his first outing of the season again.
“He’s a horse we’ve had to be patient with – and we’re lucky with the owner we have – because he’s not a horse I could have driven earlier. He’s a big, lazy guy who needs a lot of work needs a lot of transplants,” Mullins explained.
“Sometimes when you’re grooming them as five, six or seven years old, they give it up, especially when they’re a little bit relaxed.
“But once he gets onto a track, it always brings out the best in him.
“Obviously the setback didn’t help and I would have liked to have gone to Tommy Whittle with a run under my belt. The extra weeks didn’t hurt him but he is a horse that would be better suited to a run.”
Mullins hopes to develop into a top-staying handicapper with races like the Grand National on his radar, though perhaps not this season.
He added: “He would have to earn his spot in an open handicap but he’s pushing towards it.
“I haven’t made an entry in the Welsh National, but maybe someday you’d look at something like a Warwick trial or a Haydock trial and see where you stand.
“You want him to be a 140+ rated horse before you start thinking about racing like that.
“He’s a horse just coming into his best form. His two best seasons are ahead of him rather than behind.”
Seamus Mullins will send up-and-coming chaser Moroder to the Coral Mandarin Handicap Chase in Newbury on New Year’s Eve after his late seasonal return was nullified by weather.