Cup Picture No Clearer
There were several Melbourne Cup horses in action at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day but did we see a potential Cup winner in action? Our expert dissects all the fallout from the races that mattered as we head into Flemington Cup week.
Moonee Valley Gold Cup
The Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig stable love racing at this time of the year. Just over 12 months ago, they caused a huge upset when Boom Time won the Caulfield Cup at huge odds and yesterday at Moonee Valley, they were back in the winners' circle with another stayer – Ventura Storm.
The now six-year-old was a huge firmer, going from $17 to start at $5.50 across most corporates with the betting move, which lasted four days, getting the money. Ventura Storm sat behind the freewheeling Trap For Fools before peeling around the heels of the frontrunners and overpowering his rivals in the run to the judge.
Trap For Fools hung on well for second while Libran came from well back to grab the minor end of the prize.
Champion is a word too loosely thrown around these days but there is no doubt that Winx is just that – a true champion.
She became the first horse to win four Cox Plates with a stunning win in the WFA championship on Saturday, sitting in the back half of the small field and rounding up her rivals the way only she can. Jockey Hugh Bowman tracked main danger Benbatl into the race and then went four wide approaching the turn, showing too much speed for the Godolphin runner before hitting the front on the final bend and racing away for a comfortable two-length victory.
It’s highly likely that she won’t race again this spring but a few of the beaten brigade behind her aren’t done yet from a spring perspective.
– Saturday, November 3
Stars Of Carrum pretty much halved its quote to take out next week’s Derby after a last stride win in the Drummond Golf Vase over 2040 metres.
The son of a Melbourne Cup winner in Fiorente, Stars Of Carrum was expertly ridden by Ben Melham, sticking to inside runs on a day it was hard to make ground out wide, and then burst into the clear on straightening to gun down Savoie right on the line.
Stars Of Carrum showed a good turn of foot and could be a legitimate each way chance in the Derby while Savoie appeared to have every chance after racing on the speed throughout.
Aramayo, which was heavily backed, had to come from the second half of the field and tried to loop them but like most horses on the day, found it far too difficult to do so. He still hit the line okay for third and appears ready for the 2500 metres of the Derby next week.
– Tuesday, November 6
There were a number of horses competing at Moonee Valley on Saturday that have designs on the Melbourne Cup.
Ventura Storm’s victory in the Gold Cup puts him right in the mix for a spot in the field again while there were no less than 10 other horses in the race that are in the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry.
Can Ventura Storm win the Melbourne Cup? Well, he’s had a few cracks at 3200 metres already and been unplaced and it appears as though his best is over 2400-2500 metres, but he’s entitled to a shot at the great race and is currently just outside the top 24 in the Order of Entry. His current price of around $51* appears spot on.
Of the others, The Taj Mahal did a power of work and was entitled to get tired after backing up from last week’s Caulfield Cup but he appears rock hard now for the first Tuesday in November, while Sydney Cup winner Who Shot Thebarman appears ready for a fourth tilt at the Melbourne Cup. Libran and Miss Admiration made up good ground from the back on a day where the frontrunners were suited.
Avilius, which ran fourth in the Cox Plate to Winx, was beaten 7.75 lengths but rounded out his preparation for the Melbourne Cup by hitting the line fairly after being last on the turn. The eye-catcher from a Cup perspective was Rostropovich, which attacked the leader D’argento the entire way and still ran fifth.
Unfortunately for those that played the Futures markets, Kings Will Dream was pulled out of the race shortly after the start and was found to be lame. The one-time favourite for the Cup is now in huge doubt.