Darren Weir’s lightly-raced improver Prince Of Penzance showed up a quality field in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup 2014 on Cox Plate Day scoring his first Group race win on one of the biggest meetings of the year.
The Pentire five-year-old lined up for just his 16th career start in the $250,000 Group 2 Racing.com Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) and put in a stellar effort to come from the back of the pack in a moderately run race to win.
It was a beautiful, well-timed ride by jockey Michelle Payne who had to go to ‘plan-b’ after the horse was too slow away from the gates to get into the front running position as they’d mapped out.
Instead it was the Andre Fabre-trained French galloper Au Revoir who took up front running and set the slow pace in Moonee Valley Gold Cup today.
Payne meanwhile had Prince Of Penzance ($10) settled worse than midfield with lots of work to do by the home turn.
While Weir was on the sidelines worrying whether they were too far back, he needn’t have worried as Payne’s patience paid off.
The horse had the turn of foot in the end and enough in the tank to nail victory in the last few strides in a strong staying performance defeating the Tony McEvoy-trained Le Roi ($8) who got a gun run third on the inside throughout.
Au Revoir ($4.60) meanwhile managed to hang on and snare third in his Australian race debut with Damien Oliver in the saddle.
“I’ve always had great faith in this horse,” Payne said after the victory.
“He just burst through and was flying to the line.
“It’s just fantastic, this is one of my favourite days of racing and it’s great to get a win.”
With the victory Prince Of Penzance broke a notable drought not having won since the Mornington Cup Prelude over 2000m at Caulfield back in February with his lead-up being a close second in the Moe Cup over 2050m on October 16.
Weir was thrilled post-win with the horse’s effort, and Payne’s performance saying they would next run in the $250,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, November 8.
“It was a great ride,” he said.
“Very patient. She (Payne) rode for luck and at the time I didn’t know what to be thinking but full credit to her.
“The horse is in really good order.
“He trained on well since Moe and it’s good to get a win.
“It was a great ride and the horse went terrific.
“We’ll head to the Queen Elizabeth and see what happens after that.”
Weir added that with the niggling joint issues the horse had suffered over time he had been a beach worker up until 10 days ago when they bought him back to the track at Ballarat to help turn him back on before today’s test.
“Seems to have worked,” he added.
The Queen Elizabeth can then qualify the galloper for bigger things in the future, Weir obviously already looking ahead to next year’s 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and the staying riches on offer there.
Last year’s winning Cox Plate jockey Chad Schofield meanwhile was thrown from his Moonee Valley Gold Cup mount Albonetti approaching the home turn but was up walking himself to the ambulance soon after the fall.
He has since been cleared to ride for the remainder of the day including aboard market mover Sweynesse in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in Race 8.
Schofield will shoot for back-to-back wins aboard three-year-olds in the weight-for-age classic after his success aboard Shamus Award 12 months ago.
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2014 Moonee Valley Gold Cup Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 5 – 25/10/2014
|1||6||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||–||9||56kg||$10|
|2||5||LE ROI (GER)||Tony McEvoy||Tommy Berry||1.25L||1||56kg||$8|
|3||4||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Andre Fabre||Damien Oliver||1.75L||6||56.5kg||$4.80|
|4||9||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||Dwayne Dunn||4.5L||3||54.5kg||$10|
|5||1||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||Glen Boss||5L||4||57kg||$6|
|6||7||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||Zac Purton||5.1L||8||55kg||$3.50F|
|7||8||ANUDJAWUN (NZ)||Shaun Dwyer||Michael Rodd||7.35L||2||55kg||$61|
|8||2||BLACK TYCOON||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||11.35L||7||57kg||$41|
|LR||10||ALBONETTI||Sue Jaensch||Chad Schofield||–||5||53kg||$19|
|–||3||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Mark Zahra||–||0||–||–|