He’s been touted as a potential Spring Racing Carnival drawcard for almost a year and today Puissance de Lune emphatically confirmed that the tag was justified with a stunning win in the $220,000 Group 2 Back to Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes.
The Darren Weir-trained grey resumed with a slashing win in the 1400-metre weight-for-age event.
It was his first start since a dead-heat success in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) in March at an autumn cameo, which followed breath-taking wins in the Bendigo Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last Spring.
Champion jockey Glen Boss, who rode Makybe Diva to her three Melbourne Cup wins and was aboard for So You Think’s first Cox Plate success, certainly left no one in any doubt about his opinion of the entire.
“Besides that mare (Makybe Diva) and So You Think, this horse is right up there with the best horses I’ve ever ridden,” Boss declared. “He’s a genuine superstar.
“Weiry’s just got to keep him breathing, keep his tyres pumped up and we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
The son of Shamardal cemented his place at the head of Melbourne Cup markets – firming from $6.50 to $5 for the 5 November event with the TAB – while he has also rocketed to the top of the Sportingbet Cox Plate market at $5.50.
He looked every bit the Cox Plate contender in the Lawrence Stakes, in which he settled last and was still there with 250m before ambling through a gap between runners and setting out after Ajeeb, who shot clear at the top of the straight.
Puissance de Lune, who started $3.50 after opening $2.20 on Wednesday, reeled in Ajeeb with ease, coasting home three-quarters-of-a-length clear of the Mick Price-trained four-year-old, who started at $7.50, with last year’s Lawrence winner Second Effort ($7.50) a neck away third.
Boss said that while Puissance de Lune appeared to do it easy, there was plenty of merit to the performance given there is much improvement to come.
“You see what he did between the 300 and the 100 (metres), that was exceptionally quick,” he said. “These are fit racehorses who are very capable of running quick sectionals, but he passed them with ridiculous ease.
“Over the last 100m he got tired and he’s had a huge blow.”
Weir was relieved to see Puissance de Lune return a winner, having undergone an operation to remove bone chips after his Blamey Stakes success, and the Ballarat trainer will wait to see how he recovers before plotting his next move.
“I’m just glad to get over today,” Weir said. “I just want to see how he pulls up tomorrow, but you would think the ease of it and the way he did it he should go home and have a wade at the beach tomorrow be a really well horse.”
Story by Brad Bishop