In-form runner The United States has returned to the winner’s circle in impressive fashion on Cox Plate Day; mustering an impressive late turn of foot to overcome Prince Of Penzance in the dying stages of the 2015 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m).
The United States was luckless in running when sixth in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) last time out, but did his chances of success in the Moonee Valley Cup no harm when jumping well and settling into a good rhythm off the pace of Prince Of Penzance, Escado and Taiyoo past the post the first time.
Hugging the rails over the back straight, jockey Hugh Bowman elected to peel The United States out upon rounding onto the final straight; taking a few strides to find top pace but comfortably overcoming Darren Weir’s talented stayer to post a fifth career win.
Bowman delivered a perfectly-timed ride on The United States for success in the Moonee Valley Cup and laid all the praise on the Macedon Lodge operation for delivering the horse in peak condition.
“It’s a privilege to ride their horses because they always turn out in terrific order and this horse is no exception, beautifully placed,” Bowman said.
“He hasn’t let anyone down – I had a beautiful run in transit and I was a little worried when the sprint went on but I was able to keep my composure and get the nice runs through.
“The only instructions I was given is this is not a horse that can be making a long, sustained run; hold him up for a turn of foot and he’ll give it to you.
“Although I was off the bit approaching the 400m I sensed that when I balanced him he was going to give a bit and by that stage I could also sense the leader was going to tire; if he had kicked on in the straight I wouldn’t have caught him.”
Co-owner Nick Williams was thrilled with The United States’ win in the 2015 Moonee Valley Cup but conceded it will be a big task for the stayer to warrant a berth in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday week.
“He’s an athlete at the absolute top of his game and he’s obviously riding well today,” Williams said.
“The horse did very well, it sounds like they’ve broken the track record so it’s an impressive win and we couldn’t be happier.
“He’s had a bit of bad luck his last couple of runs but today he showed what he can do.
“It looked like the leader had got away with it to me, the way he picked it off it was fantastic.
“We’ll get him home and see how he is but he’d had to win the Lexus Stake to get into the Melbourne Cup and it would be a huge ask to have three mile-and-a-half plus runs in 12 days, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Bohemian Lily posted a particularly brave effort for third in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup; appearing to be out of contention when sprinting hard to keep in touch 800m from home.
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2015 Moonee Valley Cup Results
|1||7||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||–||5||56kg||$3.60F|
|2||3||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||0.5L||4||57kg||$6|
|3||11||BOHEMIAN LILY (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||4L||10||53kg||$8|
|4||8||BOLD SNIPER (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||James McDonald||5.75L||6||55kg||$14|
|5||6||LIKE A CAROUSEL||Ken Keys||Jim Cassidy||9.25L||1||56kg||$61|
|6||2||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||Nash Rawiller||9.35L||3||57kg||$12|
|7||5||TAIYOO||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||12.35L||9||56.5kg||$9.50|
|8||10||BONDEIGER||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||16.35L||2||53kg||$6.50|
|9||1||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||James Cummings||Craig Williams||16.45L||7||57kg||$26|
|10||4||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||Ben Melham||20.95L||8||56.5kg||$17|