The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
A quick seven-day back-up into the Group 1 $2 million Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington next weekend looks likely for the Dan O’Sullivan-trained Berkley Square following the horse’s tough win in a stirring edition of the Moonee Valley Vase 2022.
The Territories gelding became the fifth horse in nine years to come out of the Caulfield Guineas and win the now half-a-million-dollar Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on Cox Plate Day.
Unplaced finishing fourth to Golden Mile only a half-length beaten in the Group 1 off a luckless run in transit a fortnight back at Caulfield, Berkley Square showed lovely improvement and handled a Heavy Moonee Valley track running out a strong 2000m ahead of the Derby next weekend.
Positive from the gate today, jockey Craig Williams put the favourite into a lovely position soon after settling with Berkely Square tracking one off the fence fourth throughout.
Dashing got out to a big lead early and led the Vase field around, while the lightly-raced James Cummings-trained Pericles up from 1400m in the Tapp-Craig at Randwick on October 8 straight to the 2000m tracked in second stalking the pace.
As they hit the 650m Williams began to peel three-wide and make his move on Berkely Square, the field bunching approaching the turn for home.
With 400m to go, Pericles and Berkley Square moved up together.
Pericles hit the lead at the top of the straight with a furlong left, but Berkely Square was wearing him down, getting ahead and drawing forward to win.
“It was nice. It was a damn good race and a big challenge for the horse up the straight,” O’Sullivan told Racing.com after the win.
“Just really pleased for the result.
“I’ve always said the 2000m would be his minimum.
“Really exciting race and he was really tough through the line.”
In a photo for the minors, the on-speed Pericles was brave holding for third just behind the fast-finishing Liam Howley-trained Virtuous Circle who made up all the ground coming from last to second in the ideal Derby trial.
O’Sullivan is confident Berkely Square will see out a strong 2500m in the VRC Derby, but said he would wait and see how the horse came through his Vase run before making a final decision on whether or not to have a go at the feature.
“I think he will (get the Derby trip),” he said.
“If the run (today) affected him, it’d be the only reason I wouldn’t go (to the Derby).”
Efficient (2006) was the last horse to complete the Moonee Valley Vase – Victoria Derby double.
2022 Moonee Valley Vase Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||BERKELEY SQUARE||Dan O’Sullivan||Craig Williams||5||57kg||$2.60F|
|2||2||VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (NZ)||Liam Howley||James McDonald||0.75L||4||57kg||$5|
|3||3||PERICLES||James Cummings||Ms Jamie Kah||0.85L||7||57kg||$3|
|4||7||DASHING||Aaron Purcell||Ms Linda Meech||5.1L||8||57kg||$18|
|5||8||BERARDINO||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Nash Rawiller||5.2L||6||57kg||$18|
|6||6||SIR BAILEY||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||5.3L||3||57kg||$15|
|7||5||SKYPHIOS||Rob Blacker||Harry Coffey||5.5L||2||57kg||$31|
|8||9||ALGENDY (NZ)||Mark & Levi Kavanagh||Luke Nolen||8.75L||9||57kg||$101|
|9||10||GOTTABESAVVY (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||John Allen||10.5L||1||57kg||$31|
|12||JENNY JEROME||Patrick Payne||Damian Lane||0|
|11||HEREDITARY (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Patrick Moloney||0|
|4||FOUJITA SAN||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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