Celebrating Auckland Cup Week | Will Sound finish on a high note?

10 Mar 2022
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Mike Moroney can lay claim to most of the significant races run both here and in Australia. He’s got 53 Group 1 races to his name, including the New Zealand Derby (three times), the Melbourne and Wellington Cups, as well as a raft of others. However, the (previously Group 1) Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup has eluded him.

It’s this race that he has set out to win with the German-bred Sound.
The last two seasons have seen him come tantalisingly close with Sound recording both a second and third in the $500,000 feature. Could this year be his year?

The handsome stallion, Sound. Photo: Darryl Sherer



Sound was originally purchased by Mike’s brother, Paul Moroney, from the UK. With his main draw card being that he was qualified for Melbourne Cup, Mike commented “it was a real selling point for the prospective owners – a guaranteed start in the Cup – and we bought him on that basis. He ran in both the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup which, from an ownership perspective, is a special experience.”

Paul and Mike Moroney with their father Denny during a family get-together this week at their parents’ Matamata home. Photo: Supplied


Since those early years in Mike’s stable, he has paid for himself and more and has become what some would describe as the ultimate campaigner – living up to his moniker, ‘sound’, and being a very reliable prospect.


“He’s given his owners lots of fun. He’s raced at most major carnivals over here in Australia – and he’s won a couple of the big ones”.



Mike described him as “a lovely horse who fitted the bill and has really been an ideal purchase for the owners since.”

Sound winning the Gr.2 Zipping Classic (2400m). Photo: Reg Ryan (Racing Photos)


You’d be forgiven for thinking that after running second and third, you’d stick with the status quo, but in speaking with Mike, they took a slightly different tact with Sound’s preparation this season.

Mike commented, “we actually did take a different approach this season. Previously we’ve brought him over quite close to the race and this season we let him have a break in Australia, then brought him down to NZ to target two races prior to the Cup.”

It was a plan with his stallion status mind and despite those two races not going the way they wanted, Mike said “we’re hoping he’ll find home at a Kiwi stud to begin his stallion career off the back of his good Australian form this past 12months or so.”

Sound (outside) finishing second in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) in 2021 behind Robusto, carrying topweight of 59kgs


Mike is cautiously optimistic about the big stallions’ chances in the Cup this weekend.

When asked what do you think his chances are at going one (or two!) better and taking out the race, Mike said “I do think we’re all the wiser now. In the past we’ve seen a bit of pilot error given they hadn’t had a chance to sit on him before but with Leith on board, who has ridden him, we’re happy that issue is resolved.

The trick with him is to time his run properly and if he brings his Australian form to the race, he’ll be hard to beat even taking into account the weight.

We’re also in the position of having had another 12months with him now and feel like I’ve got the measure of him too. We were still learning about him last year and I think I’ve got him worked out now.


“He’s had a great year in Australia and we think he’s a chance for sure.”



Sounds’ pedigree is definitely on his side with Mike describing him as “a genuine stayer type, stoutly bred and the Germans still like to breed them to stay which we aren’t seeing so much of in Australasia these days.”

He went on to say “he didn’t start racing until he was a bit older and didn’t get any form until he was five so he’s had plenty of time to mature. Those staying races still are a great source of riches and he’s managed to take home about $1.6mil in prizemoney so he’s been a great horse for his owners.

He’s got a great nature for a stallion and is well loved by everyone here. They are all missing him while he’s in New Zealand for sure. We’d love to find him a home at one of New Zealand’s stud to begin that next phase of his career.”

Sound, happily in New Zealand, with foreman Scott Magee


Sound is a stunning horse to look at and we’re told that his ‘pet name’ from his trackwork rider, Emma, is the Black Stallion – largely because he reminds everyone of Black Beauty.

He is also apparently known for his appetite back in Australia at Flemington with Mike commenting “we do have to watch his waistline and often send the cows through his paddock first! When he arrives at the track he needs a pick of grass before working/racing and as soon as he’s gone past me he knows he’s done and heads straight for the grass again.”

Sound off for a swim at Ballymore’s Matamata base


Sound has some pretty big names in his ownership group with the likes of Rod Duke, Gerard Peterson and Rupert Legg, owner of Chautauqua & Tofane, all laying claim to him and with at least 65% of his ownership being held by Kiwi’s, the champagne will be flowing should he pass the post first with both Rod and Gerard expected oncourse on Sunday.

Mike, who is based in Australia, won’t be oncourse but that doesn’t mean he won’t be watching closely, commenting


“It’s actually a race that’s eluded me in my career so far.”



“I’ve had placings with Sound, Threesome and North Lady as well as Second Coming, who ran second and should have won. It’s one of two races on the calendar over the mile that I haven’t won and it would be really nice to tick it off!”.

Roger That, taking out the 2020 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup with Sound running on for second.

When we enquired as to Sound’s movements after the Auckland Cup, Mike let us know that no matter the result, this weekend is likely to be Sound’s last race with a step toward his stud career next on the list for him.

He is obviously a much-loved boy with Mike telling us several times how sorely missed he is in the Australian stable already.

Will third time really be the charm and will Sound go out on a high note? Only time will tell!

We thank Mike (and the Ballymore Stables team) for their time at such a busy part of the year and wish them all the best for this weekend’s racing.

Think you might know who will take out this year’s Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup?

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