Puissance procession at Bendigo

Puissance de Lune completed a plan six months in making when he provided race sponsor and hometown boy Gerry Ryan with victory in today’s Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m).

Ryan and trainer Darren Weir set their sights on the $250,000 Listed event after the import won first-up at the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival at his Australian debut.

The grey, who Ryan purchased on the advice of esteemed bloodstock agent Rob Roulston, carried out his end of the bargain with an eight-length demolition job in one of the most dominant wins in the history of one of Australia’s richest regional features.

“At Warrnambool we saw what we wanted to see and it was onwards and upwards from there,” Weir said.

“This is good for Gerry, he’s been a huge supporter of the stable for a long time. Him and Rob bought the horse and they said to try and get him ready for the Bendigo Cup. Normally things don’t go right, but today it did.

Puissance de Lune made it four wins from seven starts in his adopted homeland after relishing an on-pace ride from Glen Boss, who celebrated further feature success just four days after his Cox Plate win aboard Ocean Park.

Boss rode the five-year-old forward from the outside barrier in the 12-horse field and did surprisingly little work to find the spot outside leader Fiumicino.

The champion jockey was allowed to bide his time until just before straightening and when he asked Puissance de Lune to quicken he put the race beyond doubt.

The son of Shamardal, who started the $3.40 favourite, careered away to defeat $3.70 second elect Practiced, who edged out Fiumicino ($9) for second place.

Boss, who only gained the ride after Brad Rawiller was suspended for causing interference when beaten aboard Puissance de Lune at his previous outing, said he knew well before straightening that he was on the horse to beat.

“I never asked him for anything until we got to about the 600 and as soon as I clicked him up he came straight up on the bridle and I thought, ‘well it’s all over now because he’s done no work’,” Boss said.

While it was mission accomplished, Weir said Puissance de Lune will now most likely head to the $250,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m) on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“Today was going to decide whether we push on to the Queen Elizabeth or not,” the Ballarat trainer said. “I was a little bit worried about whether he’d run a trip or not but he ran it out well today so I dare say we’ll be heading that way.”

Vatuvei penalised for Cup win

Racing Victoria (RV) General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, has today issued a 1kg Emirates Melbourne Cup weight penalty to Vatuvei for its victory in the Group 2 Drake International Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

The Peter Moody-trained Vatuvei rises from 50kg to 51kg and moves to 34th in the order of entry following second acceptances and the withdrawal of three high-ranked entries.

In issuing the penalty Carpenter said it was an impressive staying performance by last season’s VRC St Leger winner who has shown a real liking once he gets up in distance.

“It was a strong staying performance by Vatuvei who carried 2kg less than the runner-up Rueben Percival in winning the Drake International Cup and I have today penalised him 1kg to 51kg in the Emirates Melbourne Cup,” Carpenter said.

“At his previous start he finished eighth on the limit weight in the Cranbourne Cup, but he again showed his liking for an extended trip and looks a progressive stayer of the future. In April he won the VRC St Leger beating Practiced who has since won at Caulfield.”

Should Vatuvei fail to secure a start in the Melbourne Cup he would likely contest the Group 3 $250,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) on Emirates Stakes Day at Flemington where horses balloted from the Cup are eligible for a $100,000 bonus if successful.

Kiwis conquer Cox Plate

Ocean Park thrust New Zealand back into the Sportingbet Cox Plate spotlight with a historic win in the $3 million Group 1 event today at Moonee Valley.

The four-year-old became the first Kiwi to win Australasia’s weight-for-age championship since Sunline (2000) and the first New Zealand-trained male since Solvit 18 years ago when he provided Gary Hennessy with his biggest win as a trainer and jockey Glen Boss with his third success in the race.

Hennessy said the victory was the culmination of a plan hatched after Ocean Park finished an unlucky second in the Rosehill Guineas and he was thrilled to fly the Kiwi flag.

“This isgreat and I’m really pleased for all of New Zealand,” Hennessy said.

“We set a plan way back in the autumn and today he was huge.

“It’s a huge thrill for (owners) Andrew (Wong) and Steve (Yan) to be here today and we’ve got ourselves a really lovely horse and today he has proved that he is the best weight-for-age horse in Australasia.”

Ocean Park became the first horse since the Group 1 system was formalised in 1979 to complete four straight Group 1 wins with victory in the Cox Plate when he maintained an unbeaten spring after wins in the Makfi Challenge, Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes.

He became the sixth horse to complete the Underwood Stakes-Caulfield Stakes-Cox Plate treble that had previously been achieved by only Ajax, Bonecrusher, Almaarad, Northerly and So You Think.

Boss, 43, who partnered Makybe Diva to a hat-trick of Melbourne Cup wins, said the victory was up there with anything he has achieved in racing.

“It feels like my greatest achievement in this sport so far,” Boss said. “I know I’ve done some wonderful things, but I’ve been in this colt’s corner the whole time and there have been doubters but I kept saying he is a winner.

“I pencilled this horse in after the Rosehill Guineas and said this horse is a star. I kept telling people that when this horse comes back next preparation you must watch him because he is a serious racehorse.”

Boss, whose earlier Cox Plate wins came aboard Makyba Diva (2005) and So You Think (2009), produced a confident ride to get Ocean Park home to the seventh of his 11-start career.

He snagged the $6 chance back from barrier nine and settled just worse than midfield one off the fence, where he stayed until getting onto the back of Green Moon at the 800m.

The $5 favourite started to battle not long after, prompting Boss to peel four-wide at the 600m. He quickly improved rounding the home bend to set out after three-year-olds Proisir and All Too Hard, who had their rivals struggling.

Black Caviar’s younger half-brother gave backers a sight when he dashed clear at the 200m, but Boss and Ocean Park reeled him in inside the final 50m and edged away for a neck victory over All Too Hard ($9), who became the first Guineas winner to place in the Cox Plate since 1985.

“I got on the back of Green Moon but he looked like he wasn’t going to take me anywhere so I got outside him and ripped past him and once he saw the bunny when he straightened up he just let go,” Boss said.

Pierro ($5.50), who was striving to become the first Golden Slipper to win the Cox Plate, enjoyed a good run and was under pressure at the 600m but came again late to edge out Ethiopia ($18) for third placing.

Southern Speed was the eye-catching run of the unbeaten brigade, storming into sixth, one spot ahead of Green Moon, who endured a wide run but was beaten a long way from home.

Hennessy said Ocean Park is likely to be given his shot at making it five Group 1 wins in a row in next Saturday’s $1 million Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Super win changes Derby picture

The AAMI Victoria Derby picture changed markedly today after It’s A Dundeel suffered a surprise defeat in the $220,000 Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

The Mark Kavanagh-trained gelding engineered a big upset, with Michael Rodd in the saddle, when he handed the even money Derby favourite the first defeat of his career.

Super Cool, a son of Fastnet Rock whose only other win from four starts came in a Seymour maiden, scored a strong win over It’s A Dundeel.

While a surprise to most punters, Kavanagh said he headed to Moonee Valley optimistic he could cause a boilover and is now excited about the Derby.

“Well, actually, I thought I could (win) because we’ve noticed he (It’s A Dundeel) had to straighten before he really sprinted home and Michael thought we’d nick off a little quicker and leave him a bit flat footed on the bend,” Kavanagh said.

“The Derby has always been on the agenda after his first start and he has taken a bit of tweaking, he got blocked in on the rails a couple of times, but he is peaking at the right time.”

Being asked to come from last in a moderately-run race proved too much of a task for It’s A Dundeel, who had won his previous five starts including the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes.

He loomed to win rounding the home bend, but couldn’t reel in Super Cool, who enjoyed a sweet run in fourth spot and took control of the race just before straightening.

A length was as close as It’s A Dundeel, the $1.35 favourite, got in the straight with Super Cool ($9) edging away late to score by 1-3/4 lengths with Viking Star ($14) the same distance away third.

Rodd said Super Cool had always been a horse of nice ability and, while still immature, he was delighted to see him string it all together a week out from the $1.5 million Derby.

“About a month ago he’d only won his maiden at Seymour so he’s come a very long way in a short amount of time,” Rodd said.

“This isn’t going to be his preparation, he is a horse that will be better with the experience under his belt, but he is up and running and you’ve got to push on.

“Today would’ve really topped him off nicely for next week.”

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Vatuvei’s dominant Cup win

Vatuvei served a reminder of his love for staying races when he turned in a powerful display to claim today’s $250,000 Drake International Cup at Moonee Valley.

The Peter Moody-trained four-year-old relished the step up to 2500 metres and a strong tempo in the Group 2 event.

It was his first win since the 2800m VRC St Leger on Anzac Day and his first start in a race beyond 2025m since his Group 1 Queensland Derby fifth placing in May.

Sadly for connections of the gelding who was 44th in the Emirates Melbourne Cup Order of Entry, the victory is unlikely to be enough to earn Vatuvei a penalty big enough to get him into the Flemington feature, but winning jockey Luke Nolen said that could be a blessing.

“It might be a blessing because it will be great to see him with another season under his belt before he tackles the better stayers,” Moody’s stable jockey said.

“He sticks, so I think he is a stayer with nice quality but I’m thinking 12 months’ time he will be a lot better.”

Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter will announce the extent to Vatuvei’s penalty at 9.30am on Monday.

The son of Reset, who was having his fourth run back from a spell, settled in the second half of the field in the Drake International Cup, but that group was suited with Rialya running the field along at a solid tempo and Midas Touch stuck wide for most of the race.

The leaders started to struggle well before the turn and while Precedence and Reuben Percival loomed ominously before the turn, Nolen’s patience allowed Vatuvei to sweep home over the top.

The $13 chance scored by 1-1/2 lengths from Reuben Percival ($9.50) with Ironstein ($5), who had trouble obtaining a clear run along the rail rounding the home bend, two lengths away third. Midas Touch was beaten at the 500m and beat home only one runner, Rialya.

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au