Matt Laurie

Matt Laurie (Image: Racing Photos)

Moonlover win a tonic for Sussex loss

Trainer Matt Laurie found the idea tonic to a tough few days when his reliable mare Moonlover topped $500,000 in earnings with a first up win at Flemington on Saturday.

Just 24 hours earlier, the Mornington trainer said farewell to star juvenile Prince Of Sussex, who was on his way to his new home in Hong Kong after being sold earlier this month for $1.75 million.

Prince Of Sussex was shaping as a contender for the spring classics after ultra-impressive wins at Bendigo and Caulfield at his past two outings, but Laurie said he was being realistic about losing the best horse he has trained.

"You find a really nice horse and it’s hard to hold off big offers like that," Laurie said.

"I would have liked to have kept him, but I understand that it’s a big game-changer for some of the owners.

"Either way you look at it, it was a very good result.

"I’m not sure if he would have won a Group 1 but he would have been lining up in them."

Moonlover lifted the mood when she sat on the speed over 1000 metres and held off all challengers to land a significant betting move as she firmed late from $21 to $14.

The rising six-year-old mare was coming off the worst preparation of her career over late summer but Laurie explained that after a short break, she returned to the stable in her old form.

"She just never came up last prep so we gave her a break and started again and her trial (earlier this month) at Cranbourne was very much like the old Moonlover, so we were very optimistic this prep."

Laurie said Moonlover may have earned a trip up north over winter with her victory  her 10th from 39 starts.

"There’ are a couple of listed races up there (Queensland) and off the back of that, there’s no reason not to take her up there."

WATCH: Moonlover win at Flemington