COMEBACK galloper Moudre, considered a genuine Caulfield and Melbourne cups prospect two years ago, has returned bigger and better from injury as he embarks on a 2012 Spring Carnival campaign, according to his trainer Ciaron Maher.
The young trainer, who has stables at Winslow and Caulfield, said he was hoping Moudre would start his spring assault in the $300,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600 metres) at Flemington on Saturday, September 8.
His 201l Melbourne Cup campaign was halted when he suffered a tendon injury to his off-front leg in August last year
“Moudre has been back in work for two weeks,” Maher said. “He looks a million dollars. His action is very good. He’s bigger and better. He spent about 10 weeks up at Peter Morgan’s pretraining complex near Seymour early in his rehabilitation and that did him the world of good.
“We decided to give him no treatment for the injury. We just gave him a rehabilitation program and it appears to have worked well. He did a lot of his early rehab on a water walker.”
The former jumps jockey said Moudre would have a couple of flat trials before the Makybe Diva run. Maher’s long-term aim is to have him ready for the $6.1 million Emirates Melbourne Cup which will be run on Tuesday, November 6.
“We’ve got to put a bit of work into him before the Makybe Diva Stakes but we’ve got time on our side. A race like the Makybe Diva is an ideal race to kick him off in,” Maher said.
“Our long-term aim is the Melbourne Cup. I think we’re still qualified for the Melbourne Cup as we won the Queens Cup back in 2010.”
Moudre was rated as one of Australia’s most promising stayers after running second to Americain in the 2010 Geelong Cup.
Americain went on to win the 2010 Melbourne Cup at his next run. Moudre then finished fourth in the $250,000 Lexus Stakes at Flemington on October 30 before winning the $260,000 Queens Cup on the final day of the 2010 Flemington Spring Carnival.
Maher gave the six-year-old three starts in the autumn of 2011. He ran ninth in the $1 million Australian Cup on March 12, 2011 before being spelled.
TAB Sportsbet has opened Moudre a $71 chance to win the Melbourne Cup.
Megapixel leads jumps championships
WARRNAMBOOL-trained steeplechaser Megapixel holds a six-point lead from his nearest rival in the Jim Houlahan jumps championships after 12 premier races have been run in the 18-race series.
Megapixel has 38 points while Gotta Take Care has amassed 32 points. Seeking The Silver is in third spot with 26 points.
Champion jumps jockey Steve Pateman is 24 points clear of Irish born jockey Tommy Ryan in the jockeys’ section. Pateman has 80 points, Ryan 56 and Richard Eynon is in third place with 54 points.
Top trainer Robert Smerdon is two points clear of Kiwi trainer John Wheeler in the trainers’ section of the prestigious award. Smerdon has 54 points; Wheeler 52 points while Darren Weir in third spot with 50 points.
The series continues at Warrnambool this Sunday when the $100,000 Kevin Lafferty Hurdle and $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase are run.
The championships, in its seventh year, celebrate the horse, trainer and jockey who accumulate the most points — which are issued on a 12-8-6-4-2 basis — across races carrying at least $100,000 in prize money.
Kevin Lafferty honoured
THREE years ago, the Warrnambool Racing Club took the initiative to name one of its feature jumping races after the late Warrnambool trainer Kevin Lafferty.
It’s now time for the Australian Jumps Racing Association to follow Warrnambool’s lead and acknowledge the training efforts of Lafferty. The AJRA has its Gallery of Champions, which comprises 12 horses, 12 jockeys and six trainers.
Sadly, the deeds of Lafferty have been forgotten. One only has to check the record books to see that Lafferty’s wins include three Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechases, six Brierly Steeplechases, two Von Doussa Steeplechases, one Great Eastern Steeplechase, the Australian Hurdle and Australian Steeplechase, plus other city jumps races.
Other highlights are winning every steeplechase at Warrnambool over an 18-month period, including the big two-day jumps meeting which was run at Warrnambool in January.
He is the only trainer to have won the Oakbank treble: the Yalumba Hurdle, the Von Doussa Steeplechase and the Great Eastern Steeplechase in one year.
With such an impressive CV, it appears only a matter of time before the AJRA adds Lafferty’s name to an impressive list in the Gallery of Champions.
This Sunday, the Warrnambool Racing Club runs the $100,000 Lafferty Hurdle race and $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase as the two feature jumps races at its meeting.
Small praised for ride
WARRNAMBOOL trainer Matthew Williams praised the ride of local jumps jockey Braidon Small after he won on Telesmon in a $20,000 maiden hurdle at Casterton on Sunday.
“I was really pleased with the run of Telesmon,” Williams said. “It was a good effort to win at his jumps debut but I was happy because the win gave Braidon his first winner.
“Braidon’s done a lot of schooling on this horse. He understand s the horse very well. I think the horse only made one slight mistake. I think the horse and jockey have bright careers in front of them.”
Telesmon may have his next start in the $30,000 Warracknabeal Cup on July 8 before running in a hurdle race in Adelaide on July 21.
Key Symbol wins at Casterton
VETERAN steeplechaser Key Symbol will be aimed at similar races to the one that he won at Casterton on Sunday, according to trainer Symon Wilde.
Key Symbol scored a gritty win in the $20,000 steeplechase over 3800 metres but Wilde, who trains in partnership with his father Bill, said he was not interested in tackling tougher races with the nine-year-old.
“We might put an entry in for the Thackeray Steeplechase at Warrnambool this Sunday but I reckon we might be aiming too high for him,” Wilde said.
“I’ve got to give full credit for the win to Brad McLean (jumps jockey) it was a brilliant ride. Brad’s a very good jumps jockey.
“I think there’s another steeple at Casterton and one at Coleraine. I think that’s the sort of class which suits him now.”
Beriman rides wave of success
BOOM Warrnambool apprentice jockey Jackie Beriman is riding a wave of success after three productive days in the saddle.
Beriman won four races over three days. She started her winning run when she guided the Bill and Symon Wilde Fasmoss to victory at Geelong on Friday.
The 17-year-old followed up that effort by winning two races at Morphettville on Saturday.
She won on Bermondsey and Handsome As before scoring on Harry’s On Song at Casterton on Sunday.
WHO TO FOLLOW:
MICHAEL O’LEARY: in the twilight years of his training career but still capable of getting winners. He showed his training skills by winning with Evenmoreaction in Adelaide on Saturday.
BOOMING: good effort to run second in the Tatts Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday. He should be hard to beat in the Brisbane Cup.
TURNER BAYOU: promising galloper which made good ground to run third in a 2000-metre race at Flemington on Saturday. Should be hard to beat next time.
ISABELLA SNOWFLAKE: impressive win at debut at Flemington on Saturday. More are in store.
DUNADEN: sensational run to finish second behind Sea Moon in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on Sunday morning (AEST). Dunaden’s price for the Melbourne Cup has been slashed after that run.