Patrick Moloney rides Vengeur Masque to victory in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)
Qewy bowed out of racing on an unfamiliar low as Vengeur Masque claimed the right to finally make next year’s Melbourne Cup field after he fought back to win the group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby announced after Qewy ran sixth as the $3.20 favourite that the eight-year-old had represented the stable in fine style over 29 runs, but that his time had come.
‘’We are delighted with the job he has done for us and he’s become a bit of a local favourite down here but he’s done more than enough,’’ Appleby said.
‘’We’ll take him home with us and find him a nice home.’’
Qewy, who last year won the Geelong Cup and Sandown Cup and was fourth in the Emirates Melbourne Cup, took up his usual on-pace position sitting outside the leader and eventual winner Vengeur Masque but he was one of the first horses beaten.
In contrast, as Qewy was dropping out, Vengeur Masque was challenged by Grey Lion, who looked certain to take victory but Patrick Moloney got the best out of the former German stayer Vengeur Masque and he regained the lead and eventually held a three-quarter-of-a length advantage on the line.
The win of Vengeur Masque was a deserved reward for connections after coming so close to claiming a Emirates Melbourne Cup spot. In 2016, he missed the field by one as he finished up being the 25th highest qualified horse and this year he was stranded again, this time at 26th.
But trainer Mike Moroney said he expected to have no such problems making the Melbourne Cup next year. ‘’He’s won a Geelong Cup and now Queen Elizabeth so you’d reckon he’d get the right weight next year,’’ he said.
‘’Last year didn’t really worry me but he’s matured now and I was really disappointed that he missed the Cup this year as I’m sure he would have run very well,’’ Moroney said.
‘’But he might be in the next few (Cup fields) now that he’s grown up. He was a late foal and he’s taken some time but now he’s got the strength and maturity to really challenge.
‘’He reminds me a lot of (2000 Emirates Melbourne Cup winner) Brew in that he’s a strong and consistent stayer.’’
Vengeur Masque won his connections first prize of $180,000 but they are also eligible for another $100,000 bonus offered by the Victoria Racing Club for any horse that can win the Queen Elizabeth after being balloted from the Melbourne Cup.
Darren Weir went into the race with two prominent chances in Kiwia ($5) and Gallic Chieftain ($5) but both raced back in the field and were never likely to get into the finish.