‘DIRTY’ MASQUE PROVES A POINT
SPURNED by the racing gods at the past two Melbourne Cups, Vengeur Masque finally claimed a chunk of Flemington glory with Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory yesterday.
Stranded at No.25 in the Melbourne Cups order of entry last year and again last week, Vengeur Masque ($6.50) embodies the argument for creating Cup emergencies.
After the gelding defied Grey Lion ($26) and Wheal Leisure ($9.50) in a gruelling finish to the 2500m Group 3, trainer Mike Moroney lamented what might have been.
“It’s just disappointing that he didn’t make the Melbourne Cup,” Moroney said, referring to the fact Who Shot Thebarman’s scratching reduced the field to 23 but there is no capacity to use emergencies as replacements.
“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.”
Vengeur Masque earned $180,000 and collected an additional $100,000 bonus for his connections because he was a final acceptor for the Melbourne Cup.
Jockey Patrick Moloney jokingly attributed Vengeur Masque’s grit to his Cup shunning.
“He’s a bit dirty he didn’t get into the Melbourne Cup, I think, he didn’t want to lay down today,” Moloney said.
“Obviously he ran second (in the Lexus) 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.”
Moloney lauded Moroney as Godolphin warhorse Qewy was retired after a fading sixth.
“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,” Moloney said.
“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.”
Moroney also equipped Moloney with tactics to unhinge Qewy, who laboured under 59kg.
“We had planned to lead and try and make the favourite carry their weight. It really worked well,” Moroney said.
Moroney believes Vengeur Masque will continue to improve.
“He’s just got a lot more stronger this time around,” he said. “He’ll get better.”
LIKE A TIGER: Vengeur Masque (right) fights off Grey Lion at Flemington yesterday. Picture: Getty Images
MIXED EMOTIONS: Trainer Michael Moroney.