Big fresh-up effort by Meeska Mooska

Meeska Mooska (Anna Jones) holding out Underthemoonlight at Hastings yesterday to provide sire El Hermano with the quinella.

Meeska Mooska (Anna Jones) holding out Underthemoonlight at Hastings yesterday to provide sire El Hermano with the quinella.

Cambridge trainers Graham Thomas and Nick Smith pulled off a fine training feat to maintain the winning streak of stable star Meeska Mooska at Hastings yesterday.

Meeska Mooska had been off the scene for more than three months — since completing a hat trick of 2100-metre wins at Te Rapa on May 21 — but he showed no signs of being underdone when he stepped out over 1600 in the Westbury Club Mile.

As had been the case in his middle-distance wins, Meeska Mooska went straight to the front and refused to let his rivals get passed him in the home straight. He kicked clear on straightening and held on well to score by a short neck from the favourite, Underthemoonlight, who was given every chance.

“He can kick so well off a good tempo he’s hard to catch,” said rider Anna Jones.

It is no surprise the Matamata apprentice made the trip south for just the one ride on the day. She had been aboard in his hat trick of wins and her two other rides on the six-year-old son of El Hermano had resulted in two placings.

Meeska Mooska has now assembled a good record of six wins and five placings from 18 starts and his connections look set for an exciting season.

“I expected him to go well, he’s certainly very well,” said Thomas. “In previous campaigns he’s gone a couple of good races fresh-up over shorter distances.

“He’s grown and grown and strengthened. He’s a bigger and stronger horse now.”

Though Meeska Mooska holds a nomination for the Gr. 1 Livamol Classic on October 1, Thomas isn’t about to confirm a tilt at the weight-for-age 2040-metre Hastings feature yet.

“It’s a big ask,” he said. “He may come back here for the open 2000 on the middle day and we’ll see how he does.”