MOONEE VALLEY GOLD CUP - 2500m, Moonee Valley R7
The Moonee Valley Gold Cup has moved to the Friday night of Cox Plate weekend, and taken over from the Manikato Stakes as the feature race of the evening. It gives the stayers on a Melbourne Cup path their final hit-out before tackling the big one.
It’s an even enough field on ratings alone this year, but for a number of horses it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen their best form, others have produced the occasional good run, but only a precious few have been consistently trustworthy.
Lunar Flare is the favourite, running in her third Gold Cup after winning it in 2021 and finishing second last year. While on those two occasions she was coming into the race off a win, this time around she is coming off a fifth placed run in the Turnbull Stakes, arguably the equivalent if not better. We’ve already seen Gold Trip and West Wind Blows come out of that race to run top three in the Caulfield Cup.
Lunar Flare is a very good stayer, having had four wins and two placings in the 2400m-2800m range across her career, and we’ll see if she still produces her best now as an eight-year-old.
The 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare, who has only won one race since then, could be knocking on the door of another after his fast-finishing second to Alligator Blood in the Caulfield Stakes last start. The brutal tempo of the race helped him show his stamina late in the piece, and now he gets up to a true staying trip. He’s not badly in at the weights, but surprisingly for an eight-year-old he is having his first start at the Valley.
Future History is in good form for the Maher/Eustace camp; they always seem to have a lightly-raced stayer improving through the spring, building to a big run in the Melbourne Cup. He won the Bart Cummings last start, securing his placed in the race that stops a nation – he did have every favour and a gun ride from a cosy barrier on that day, but has drawn stickily now.
Athabascan was three lengths behind Future History in the Bart Cummings, having gone back to the tail from a wide gate. He now meets that horse 2.5kg’s better at the weight, and has drawn the inside to get more favours this time. He’s rock-hard fit and is in great form.
Interpretation put in a similar run to Athabascan, but has drawn poorly again. Still, he progressive enough to win too. Cleveland looked the winner up in Sydney last start, but may have been a bit weak late, or perhaps was just beaten by a good horse with a lighter weight. El Bodegon ran third in the Cox Plate last year but hasn’t fired a shot since – he could be a blowout danger getting back to the Valley, although you’d want big odds.
Selections: 1.Athabascan 2.Lunar Flare 3.Vow And Declare 4.Future History
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds