Top Victorian trainer Peter Moody has labelled his European import Au Revoir as a “big chance” to back-up from Saturday’s Australian Cup in Melbourne with a 2015 Sydney Cup bid at Randwick during next month’s The Championships.
The Singspiel stallion has had four runs down under since his transfer from France during last year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
His debut was a nice third in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day before he tackled the world’s richest handicap on the first Tuesday of November, Au Revoir running eighth to German raider Protectionist in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Beaten nearly 11 lengths by the now Kris Lees-trained Protectionist, who is current favourite for the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington this weekend despite his trainer’s fears about the distance, Au Revoir atoned in his final spring run.
The five-year-old dropped in class and distance and won the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) before being turned out for a spell.
He resumed off his break on February 28 in the traditional Australian Cup lead-up, the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield where Protectionist finished sixth as the beaten favourite.
Au Revoir ran fifth in the race just over two lengths off the winner in a run that impressed Moody, and that he has improved off since.
“That race seems to have switched him on,” Moody told the Herald Sun on Tuesday.
“He worked nicely this morning with Lidari and I think he will continue to improve.”
Now Au Revoir backs-up in the Australian Cup facing a similar field as last time out including Peter Young Stakes winner Mourinho and three-time Group 1 winner Happy Trails whose trainer Paul Beshara is bullish about the horse’s chances of improving on his Peter Young second.
With winning form up to 2450m, Au Revoir is a genuine stayer in Moody’s eyes and a good Australian Cup run will secure a trip to Sydney for a shot at the $1.6 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on Day 2 of The Championships, April 11.
“I think the Sydney Cup will be a big chance for him,” Moody said.
This week 44 Sydney Cup first acceptances were taken, the entries and futures odds at Ladbrokes.com.au led by Protectionist ($4.60).
Au Revoir can be found a little further down the all-in Sydney Cup betting markets at $17, a price set to firm if he scores an upset Australian Cup result this weekend.
Moody also saddles-up Lidari, runner-up to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last October, in the weight-for-age feature this weekend, the six-year-old out to atone for a string of unplaced runs including his dead last (13th) in the Peter Young.
“Lidari has been disappointing but he doesn’t like racing inside horses,” Moody explained.
“A bad (outside) draw would suit him.
“If you look back at the Turnbull Stakes in the spring when he was beaten only half-a-length by Lucia Valentina you reckon he could have a sneaky chance.”
Moody is after his second Australian Cup win following his first in 2012 with Manighar, but he is yet to prepare a Sydney Cup winner.
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