DARREN Weir heaped praise on his Warrnambool stable foreman Mitch Freedman after the lightly-raced Puissance De Lune produced the most eye-catching run of the Melbourne Cup campaign with an easy win in Saturday’s group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington.
The Irish-bred galloping machine bounded to the head of next year’s Melbourne Cup markets with a five-length win. The victory followed the horse’s eight-length win in last month’s Bendigo Cup and, with even luck, preceded many more.
The only question after the race was how Puissance De Lune could possibly have been beaten two runs back when a $1.20 favourite in a restricted-class race at Warrnambool.
His trainer Darren Weir wore a grin after the Queen Elizabeth that surely contained a shred of embarrassment as he attempted to explain.
“Things can go wrong,” Weir said.
But he told ABC Radio that his Warrnambool stable foreman Freedman and his team deserved credit, having put a lot of energy into the grey’s preparation.
Winning jockey Glen Boss had declared Puissance De Lune a future Melbourne Cup winner after his Bendigo win and repeated the forecast on Saturday.
“We’re looking at a superstar,” Boss said.
Boss had Puissance De Lune, the $3 favourite, on the heels of the leader until the turn where the pair strode clear. At the 300m Boss had a cheeky look over his shoulder, at the 200m he had a longer and cheekier look and on the line he stood in the irons, his mouth wide open in wonder.
As elated connections celebrated, bookmakers panicked, turning Puissance De Lune in from $26 to $8 for next year’s Melbourne Cup.
The win came at the expense of south-west gallopers Moudre and Streaky Fella.
Moudre will be improved by his eighth placing, according to his trainer Ciaron Maher.
Maher said Moudre had been plagued by a stop-start preparation which meant the seven-year-old had been playing catch-up for most of the spring but now he’s on track to be competitive in Saturday’s $350,000 Zipping Classic at Sandown.
“Puissance De Lune was just too good,” he said.
“He looks to be something special. We’ve finished six lengths behind the second placegetter which was a good effort since Moudre had not had a run since the Caulfield Cup which was 21 days ago.
Streaky Fella, trained by Warrnambool’s Aaron Purcell, was 11th.
Purcell said Dwayne Dunn (jockey) indicated Streaky Fella was outclassed by Puissance De Lune but could still measure up if he dropped a couple of classes.
“We’ve got a couple of possibilities open to him,” Purcell said. “We might enter him for the Ballarat Cup on November 25 or we might give him a break. He’s done a great job over the past few months,” Purcell said.
With AAP TURF