European import Vengeur Masque is one step closer to a start in the 2017 Melbourne Cup after producing a tough staying effort to win the Group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong today.
Winning trainer Mick Moroney is hoping for a penalty for today’s win to help Vengeur Masque advance up the order of entry for the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 7.
Vengeur Masque is currently forty-fifth in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup and Moroney also has the option of running the import in the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on November 4 to try to gain a spot in the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’.
“We are keen on the Melbourne Cup this year,’ Moroney said.
“Hope for a little bit weight and attrition as well.”
“He is a real two miler, he has just finally come of age.”
“He is a similar sort of horse as Brew (2000 Melbourne Cup winner). When they get strong they can keep up a strong gallop and he is finally starting to get there.”
“I probably would run him in the Lexus. He is stronger, I wouldn’t have last year but this year certainly.”
Today’s win was Vengeur Masque’s first for the Moroney stable since arriving from Europe in 2016 but the Monsun six year old has been runner up on three occasions including a second in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival and second to Tally in the Listed $300,000 Ladbrokes Mornington Cup (2400m) at Mornington in March.
Moroney said the secret for Vengeur Masque’s success today was the addition of the ear muffs which helped the gelding relax during the race and gave him extra reserves for the drive to the line.
“We have been tinkering around with gear and trying to ride him a little bit differently and we thought today with the ears (muffs) on if he did begin well we would go a little bit further forward,” Moroney said.
“He was leading in a lot of his races. We know he is a real two miler and it was just a matter of tinkering with his gear and getting him to relax and he finally has now.”
“He has been a slow maturing horse and he has only just come of age.”
Winning jockey Patrick Moloney had Vengeur Masque quickly out of the barriers from a wide gate and found a handy spot near with the leading division.
Moloney was able to get Vengeur Masque ($15) to relax behind the leader Lizzie L’Amoiur and he was able to hold off the late challenge of the $3 favourite Gallic Chieftain who was sneaking up along the inside fence to gain the judge’s decision by half a head.
The Brent Stanley trained Violate ($17) was doing his best work at the finish to fill third spot.