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While a Melbourne Cup start may be 12 months off for Peter Moody’s promising stayer Vatuvei the smart four-year-old proved their ability to go the distance with a good win in the 2012 Moonee Valley Gold Cup at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Cox Plate Day.
The Reset four-year-old doesn’t have a lot of racing behind them with the $250,000 Drake International Cup (2500m) just their 15th career start, but already Vatuvei is a dual stakes winner having also saluted in the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) in the wet at Flemington on Anzac Day this year.
Having always displayed plenty of ability the horse just needed to get a trip, which they could travel all day, and some maturity behind them.
They demonstrated they were and out-and-out stayer on the way up with their improved effort today and that they will only get better with more distance as they were able to charge home late and take out the MV Cup.
Won last year by 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain the Drake International Cup was another cracker edition in 2012 with the pace set by Luca Cumani’s international debutant Ibicenco who had the early dash to lead.
Race favourite Midas Touch had to do lots of work having settled third three wide eventually finishing over 13 lengths away eighth beating home just one other runner (Rialya).
By the time there was 1000m left to travel the runs started to come round the outside and it was the Bart Cummings-trained Precedence, who won this race two years ago, making a wide run from about seventh to come up quickly and hit the front around the home turn.
Over the final 200m Vatuvei ($13), ridden patiently in a weaving effort from the talented Luke Nolen, raced up strongly and drew away.
They had picked their way through the field, getting going when the action really started to warm up, careening away in a pretty convincing win beating home a very impressive Gai Waterhouse-trained Reuben Percival ($9.50) who had been right up on the pace throughout after being ridden urgently early, by one and a half lengths.
Coming through an eighth to Midnight Martini in the Cranbourne Cup, Vatuvei is a real grinder and his last furlong was the best part of his race.
It was also a brave finish from third placegetter Ironstein ($5) who got caught in traffic on the straight with nowhere to go, but as soon as the winner started to track into the race you could see he was going to be the one to beat in the end.
The question then arises for Vatuvie over the spring’s big cup clash with the two-miles of the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 6.
While they beat home a number of Melbourne Cup chances on Cox Plate Day Vatuvei is a long shot of making the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field sitting 44th on the order of entry before today’s win, paying $251 as one of the real roughies in Melbourne Cup betting at [bookamaker].
They would need incredible luck in the form of a hefty penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter to move high enough up the ballot to earn a start in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
That may be unlikely to happen but connections still have the option of backing them up next Saturday on Victoria Derby Day in the $200,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) which offers the winner a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption.
Nolen however isn’t worried whether the horse makes the field this year or not saying that they would be a much better spring cups chance next year.
“That may well be a blessing, it would be great to see him with another season under his belt,” Rawiller said.
“He was very convincing on the line.
“I think he’s a genuine stayer….in 12 months’ time he’ll be even better.
“I followed up Precedence he looked to be travelling better than anything else in the race.
“I just had to wait, he (Vatuvei) was always going to show a turn of foot.
“Good staying effort, well trained.”
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2012 Drake International Moonee Valley Gold Cup Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 6 – 27/10/2012
|1||11||VATUVEI||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||–||1||54kg||$13|
|2||7||REUBEN PERCIVAL (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||1.5L||8||56kg||$9.50|
|3||4||IRONSTEIN||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||3.5L||3||56.5kg||$5|
|4||2||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart Cummings||James McDonald||3.7L||7||57kg||$4.80|
|5||1||UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA)||Michael Kent||Brad Rawiller||6.7L||2||58kg||$61|
|6||5||SHENZHOU STEEDS (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Kerrin McEvoy||7.95L||5||56.5kg||$13|
|7||8||IBICENCO (GER)||Luca Cumani||Craig Newitt||9.45L||4||55kg||$7.50|
|8||9||MIDAS TOUCH (GB)||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||13.45L||9||55kg||$4.20F|
|9||3||RIALYA||Lloyd Kennewell||Damien Oliver||16.95L||6||57kg||$21|
|–||6||MOUDRE||Ciaron Maher||Craig Williams||–||0||–||–|
|–||10||FICTIONAL ACCOUNT (IRE)||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||–||0||–||–|
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