A well-judged ride by Patrick Moloney combined with the stamina of the Mike Moroney trained Vengeur Masque (IRE) to take the $300,000, Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Saturday to give the connections compensation for missing a slot in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
Vengeur Masque (IRE) and Patrick Moloney low flying to the finish, picture Quentinjlang.com
Vengeur Masque won the Group 3 Geelong Cup over 2400m on October 25th and was a narrow second to Cismontane (NZ) in the qualifying Group 3 Lexus Stakes over 2500m at Flemington last Saturday. The winner of the Lexus gained a guaranteed place in the field for the Cup.
Moroney waited for a week and gave Moloney his head to take charge of the field with Vengeur Masque (54.5kg) and that was the race parcelled up.
The $3.20 favourite Qewy (IRE), top-weight with 59kg, challenged under Kerrin McEvoy at the top of the straight but could not repeat his Bendigo Cup win fading off in the straight. Then Grey Lion (IRE) (54kg) and Jordon Childs arrived and they tried to attack the leader on the rails. They closed but not enough and Wheal Leisure (54kg) and Dean Yendall tried as well, but they too were not able to reach Vengeur Masque.
The margins at the line were 3/4L and 1/2L with Violate fourth. The time was 2.42.99 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 34.63. Vengeur Masque paid $6.50 on fixed odds and $5.90 on the NSW tote.
“We had planned to lead and try and make the favourite carry their weight. It really worked well," said Moroney.
“I had a chat with Patrick beforehand and the more I thought about it during the week the more I started to think we should do that. I said to him, ‘go and have a look at the 1997 Victoria Derby won by Second Coming and that’s how you’ve got to ride him’ and he said that he was only four years old back then.
“It is just disappointing that he didn’t make the Melbourne Cup, we knew it was his first year of the next two to make the Cup. I would have loved to have run him this year, he would have really run well but we just missed out.
“He has just got a lot stronger this time around and just like Brew he’s improved out of sight. He will get better and I think next year he will be better again. We have tried to make the field the past two years and missed out so hopefully it will be a case of third time lucky,” he said.
"He is a bit dirty he didn't get into the Melbourne Cup, I think, he didn't want to lay down today," said Moloney.
“Obviously he ran second the other day and missed out on a Cup run. As soon as he got challenged by that horse (Grey Lion), I knew I had a bit up my sleeve and he just kept fighting like a caged tiger.
"The training genius by Mike with the gear change of the ear muffs going on…he's just relaxed so well his last three runs.
“He won the Geelong Cup, just got beaten in the Lexus, and then he's come out today and won the Queen Elizabeth. Hopefully that puts him in good stead to get a crack at it next year," he said.
Vengeur Masque, a five-year-old gelding by Monsun out of the Lear Fan mare Venetian Beauty, was winning for the fourth time from 20 starts and the last three races have taken his stakes to $734,246 to assist with the compensation for missing a Cup run this spring.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby announced after the race that their grand veteran Qewy had been retired from racing. The eight-year-old Street Cry gelding won six of his 29 starts and $874,765 in stakes.
Salute Patrick Moloney for a leading all the way win, picture Quentinjlang.com