2023 VRC Derby Next for Strong Moonee Valley Vase Winner Apulia

October 28, 2023

2023 VRC Derby Next for Strong Moonee Valley Vase Winner Apulia

Strong Fiorente colt Apulia is likely for another quick back-up into Saturday week’s Group 1 $2 million Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington after an impressive win in the Moonee Valley Vase 2023.

2023 Moonee Valley Vase winner Apulia

2023 Moonee Valley Vase winner Apulia is likely to back-up into the Group 1 VRC Derby on November 4. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained improver has gone from strength to strength this prep and looks to be peaking at the right time for an assault on the VRC Derby field on Day 1 of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The up and coming stayer was fourth last weekend to Sunsets at Caulfield in the Group 3 Classic over 2000m and relished a quick seven-day turnaround in the Group 2 $400,000 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on Ladbrokes Cox Plate Day.

In-form Caulfield Cup winning jockey from last Saturday, Mark Zahra, made it a treble at the meeting with a peach of a ride in the Vase.

He has Apulia settled just off the speed set by the heavily-backed favourite Verdad who led without any pressure up front.

Zahra set Apulia alight approaching the turn to move up into third coming with a surging run at the 300m to join the leader.

The two went stride-for-stride briefly before Apulia drew clear with 100m to go charging home for a dominant win over the brave but beaten favourite.

Andrew Gluyas’ last start Hill Smith winner at Morphettville, Air Assault, completed the Moonee Valley Vase trifecta in third off a deep on-speed run throughout.

Showing a real zest for racing now the Vase winner, who was good enough to reel in Verdad and run through the line, looks fit and ready to fire next Saturday in his grand final.

“He really appreciated the quick back-up,” co-trainer JD Hayes told Racing.com after the win.

“He’s a big strong colt and he was really tough today.

“It was a 10/10 ride by Mark Zahra.

“We’ll see how he is…I dare say he’ll back-up again.”

Efficient (2006) was the last three-year-old to complete the Moonee Valley Vase – Victoria Derby double.

All-in 2023 Victoria Derby odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au have Apulia as the current $8 third favourite and are available by clicking here.

2023 Moonee Valley Vase Results & Finishing Order

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 4 APULIA Ben, Will & JD Hayes Mark Zahra 4 57kg $4.20
2 3 VERDAD Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock Beau Mertens 2L 5 57kg $2.45F
3 2 AIR ASSAULT Andrew Gluyas Damian Lane 3.5L 8 57kg $4.60
4 9 BULAWAYO Pat Carey & Harris Walker Rhys McLeod 6.5L 2 57kg $31
5 1 SUNSOURCE Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young Opie Bosson 7.25L 3 57kg $11
6 7 KONING Richard & Will Freedman Zac Purton 9.25L 6 57kg $6.50
7 10 MAH ALI Benjamin Smith Ms Winona Costin 21.25L 1 55kg $101
8 8 ESSKAY Danny O’Brien Jamie Mott 22L 7 57kg $26
5 SNOWMAN Chris Waller James McDonald 0
6 PORT LOCKROY Annabel Neasham Michael Dee 0

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 


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