The Joe Pride-trained sprint star Eduardo is red...
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller prepared the Moonee Valley Gold Cup 2016 quinella on Cox Plate Day repeating the one-two effort of last year’s Sydney Cup with Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman.
It had been 539 days between wins for Dansili seven-year-old Grand Marshal who hadn’t been in the winners’ stall since his upset at odds of $51 in the 2015 Sydney Cup.
He was competitive again defending that title running third to Gallante in this year’s edition of the two mile clash, but was back to his best in his first look around the Valley in the $300,000 Group 2 Angler Luggage Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
The form out of the Group 1 The Metropolitan (1400m) at Randwick from October 1 was the one to follow into the Moonee Valley Gold Cup this spring, with Grand Marshal (9th) and stablemate Who Shot Thebarman (7th) both graduates of the Sydney lead-up.
Eight-year-old Who Shot Thebarman has plenty of Cup form around the country with a third in the 2014 Melbourne Cup, a second in last year’s Sydney Cup and fourth in that race this autumn gone.
Both dour stayers were back to their best debuting at the tight Moonee Valley circuit ahead of another shot at ‘the race that stops a nation’ – the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 1.
The reigning Sydney Cup champ Gallante was favourite in the Moonee Valley Cup clash coming off a second to subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Jameka in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m).
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy however did the Robert Hickmott-trained Montjeu six-year-old no favours allowing him to roll forward and lead the field around.
The better fancied of Waller’s runners, Who Shot Thebarman was one of the first to jump but Hugh Bowman immediately restrained him.
Gallante then went to the front and led throughout from eventual last-past-the-post Authoritarian who dropped right out late.
Bowman gave Who Shot Thebarman a lovely ride in fourth, while Ben Melham had Grand Marshal switched off back third last.
It proved a huge 24 hours for Melham who rode Friday night’s upset Manikato Stakes winner Rebel Dane before returning to the Valley for the Moonee Valley Gold Cup win on Grand Marshal at the big odds again.
“It’s good to win on this bloke today,” Melham said.
“He’s been running okay.
“I think today he finally got the conditions to suit with a solid tempo up front.
“I always knew I had this race at my mercy and it’s good to see this horse back in form.”
Nearing the turn for home, Who Shot Thebarman pulled to the outside getting out into the good part of the track running on strongly as the likes of Second Wave and Gallante started to feel the pressure.
Running on from the back off the track out wide was Grand Marshal, Melham timing his run to perfection.
The Waller duo raced away in the closing stages finishing in the opposite of market order with Grand Marshal ($18) heading the Moonee Valley Gold Cup quinella from Who Shot Thebarman ($4.40).
In a distant third to finish off the trifecta was the John Wheeler-trained Pentathlon ($71) in just his second start down under, the former Kiwi also proven over two miles.
Waller confirmed both his runners would back-up in the Melbourne Cup field, but was unsure how they would stack-up in the world’s richest handicap after finishing 11th (Who Shot Thebarman) and 21st (Grand Marshal) in the classic last year.
“I would’ve thought Who Shot Thebarman had the slight edge today…but it’s not the first time Grand Marshal has edged him out in a big race,” Waller said post-win.
“At least they’re in good form heading towards the big one.
“Who Shot Thebarman two years ago was the benchmark running third [in the Melbourne Cup].
“But last year they didn’t complete, they both got knocked off.
“They are genuine two milers and in days gone that’s what you want in the Melbourne Cup.
“Whether they’re got the dash to beat the overseas trained horses or Jameka, probably not, but we’ll have a good time trying.”
Prince Of Penzance ($101) won the Melbourne Cup last spring on the back of a second in the Moonee Valley Cup at the big odds, giving hope to Waller’s charge in 2016.
To back Waller’s 2016 Melbourne Cup hopes at all-in prices head to our No. 1 recommended bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au now.
2016 Moonee Valley Gold Cup Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 8 – 22/10/2016
|1||2||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Ben Melham||–||6||58kg||$19|
|2||3||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||0.75L||9||57kg||$4.40|
|3||8||PENTATHLON (NZ)||John Wheeler||Luke Nolen||4.25L||10||55kg||$61|
|4||4||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Vlad Duric||4.55L||2||56kg||$6.50|
|5||10||WHITE DOLLAR SIGN||John Thom||Ms Holly McKechnie||9.55L||5||55kg||$151|
|6||7||THE BANDIT (JPN)||John Sadler||Craig Newitt||11.55L||3||55kg||$18|
|7||1||GALLANTE (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Kerrin McEvoy||13.8L||4||58kg||$3.80F|
|8||6||MASTER ZEPHYR (GB)||Darren Weir||Dwayne Dunn||19.8L||1||55kg||$9|
|9||9||SECOND WAVE (IRE)||Charlie Appleby||James McDonald||34.8L||7||55kg (cd 55.5kg)||$4.60|
|10||5||AUTHORITARIAN||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Daniel Moor||40.8L||8||56kg||$31|
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