One of the ante-post favourites for last year’s Melbourne Cup, Ciaron Maher’s Warrnambool-based galloper Moudre is back in work and preparing for another tilt towards the world’s richest handicap this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Blevic gelding Moudre missed out on a start in the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) last November, despite the five-year-old being well-backed in the pre-field Melbourne Cup odds.
Moudre was targeting a start in the famous Flemington feature since running an eye-catching third in the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield in late September.
At their next start Moudre, also an early favourite for last year’s Caulfield Cup, was a flop when they ran a disappointing fourth to runaway winner Linton in the Herbert Power Stakes.
A narrow second beaten just a long-head to subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Americain in the Geelong Cup (2406m) on October 20, Moudre failed to make the Melbourne Cup field when in their last-chance to secure a Cup exemption they ran fourth to Maluckyday in The Lexus at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
Given a final spring run, Moudre showed they still had the ability to win stakes races when they took out the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, November 6, before heading to the paddock for a spell.
Maher bought Moudre back for an unsuccessful summer stint, the galloper finishing unplaced in their trio of runs.
Finishing second last when 15th to the now retired mare Typhoon Tracy in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 12, Moudre then ran a distant eighth to Heart Of Dreams in the Group 1 St George Stakes (1800m) before their similarly awful ninth to former Melbourne Cup champion Shocking in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) last start at Flemington on March 12.
Despite having failed to show any of their earlier spring promise last prep, Maher remains confident Moudre can bounce back and go all the way to the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 1 this year.
“Moudre is going well,” Maher said.
“He’s back in work, his action is good and he’s just ticking along slowly at the moment.
“He might resume in a handicap on Memsie Stakes Day at Caulfield.
“If he comes up a little quicker we could follow a similar path to last year.”
The first-up run Maher referred to is the $100,000 Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) on August 27.
“Hopefully he gets qualified and into the Melbourne Cup which is obviously the grand final for him,” Maher said.
“It would be great to get him there.
“He’s a good horse and he has form around Americain.
“If he can get back to similar form I’d be rapt and he should too because he has had a good break and he’s a rising six-year-old.
“He’s a slow maturer and not over raced so you would think this would be one of his better springs.”
Of the 149 individual Melbourne Cup winners since the race’s inauguration, 24 have been male horses aged six.