Featured Racing News
Bookmakers are dismissing Vengeur Masque's Caulfield Cup chances but trainer Mike Moroney retains faith the gelding has what it takes to be a threat in the big staying handicaps.
Moroney has two runners in Saturday's $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) with German import Sound Check at $26 for his Australian debut and Vengeur Masque $126.
Moroney says he leans Vengeur Masque's way because he knows him better than the recently arrived import.
"And I'm a Vengeur Masque fan," Moroney said.
"I just think on what I saw last year he's very similar to (2000 Melbourne Cup winner) Brew, and he's peaking now.
"If I was a bookmaker, I wouldn't have him at the odds he's at."
After disappointing in The Bart Cummings last year, Vengeur Masque did not run in the Caulfield Cup but went on to win the Geelong Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes either side of a second in the Lexus Stakes, missing a Melbourne Cup start for the second consecutive year.
Moroney said Vengeur Masque, a last-start fifth in The Bart Cummings, was as well as he could get him.
"We've really been aiming to peak him for these two races, the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups," he said.
"And we've been planning this for a long time.
"We only gave him two runs in the autumn, probably at distances he couldn't win at, just to aim him here. So we've put a lot of eggs in the one basket.
"Whether he's good enough to beat the Europeans and a mare like Youngstar, I'm not really sure.
"He's improved a lot but this year is probably one of the stronger Caulfield Cups I've seen for a long time."
Sound Check was bought with the major Australian staying races in mind after his last start in Germany where he ran second in a 2400m Group One race to Caulfield Cup topweight Best Solution.
Moroney has only had Sound Check in his care in Australia for three weeks but says he is a lovely relaxed horse and believes he has the right staying credentials.
"He seems to have settled in well and he brings really good form," he said.
Racing in the light blue and red colours made famous by Red Cadeaux, English stayer Red Verdon will be out to give trainer Ed Dunlop and his team a feature race win in Australia in the Caulfield Cup.
Dunlop has had five feature race second placings in Australia in the past decade, with the late Red Cadeaux responsible for four of those including three in the Melbourne Cup and one in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney.
Red Cadeaux had to be euthanised when he failed to recover from an an injury he suffered in his fifth Melbourne Cup in 2015.
Dunlop also had Trip To Paris finish second in the 2015 Caulfield Cup and on Saturday Red Verdon will line up in the $5 million 2400m handicap, with a genuine chance to go one better.
Dunlop's travelling foreman Robin Trevor-Jones is back in Victoria for another spring carnival, and is upbeat about Red Verdon in the Caulfield Cup.
Trevor-Jones says the six-year-old brings strong European form to the race and has been training well at Werribee where the international horses for the Melbourne spring racing carnival are housed.
"He's absolutely thrived there. I've never seen a horse turn and look so well so quickly," Trevor-Jones said.
"His training has been good. Steve, his work rider, has been really happy with him.
"Everything is going great at the moment."
Red Verdon will be ridden by champion Hong Kong-based Australian Zac Purton who won the 2014 Caulfield Cup on Japanese horse Admire Rakti.
The winner of five of his 24 starts and placed in another 10, Red Verdon's form this year includes a second in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes (2406m) at Royal Ascot in June.
Third in the Hardwicke was the Aidan O'Brien-trained The Cliffsofmoher who also runs in the Caulfield Cup and was at $7 on race eve while Red Verdon was at $21.
"He has got great form in England," Trevor-Jones said.
"That Hardwicke form is fantastic.
"He's a proper Group One horse in England. So we're very hopeful."
Sportsbet have for a long time been the biggest online bookmaker here in Australia due to their excellent coverage of all sports and racing events not to mention their ability to bring out new betting products year in year out. Sportsbet each year run Australia's biggest and best AFL and NRL tipping competitions namely Million Dollar Tipping which is always a firm favourite with punters and has huge cash prizes. Sportsbet now offers live racing to all it's members.
Ladbrokes since launching in Australia back in early 2015 have taken the online betting world by storm and are now regarded as one of the best betting sites in the land which comes as no surprise since the are one of the worlds biggest betting agencies. Ladbrokes have launched a host of new and exciting feature betting products that give the punter more value and more options when betting. Ladbrokes are my current personal choice when I am having a punt.
Neds are the newest addition to the online betting scene here in Australia and already they are making their mark, with seasoned professionals behind the scenes that have a wealth of knowledge within Australia's online betting industry they will surely be a big player over the next couple of years. While Neds still has a little work to do to match the big boys in regards live racing and feature products they certainly are going the right way and are one to watch.