French raider Americain showed he was on target to make it back-to-back wins in the Melbourne Cup with a dominant victory in Saturday’s Group Two Moonee Valley Cup.
Americain eased from his opening quote of $2.80 to start $3.50 favourite on Saturday but was ridden brilliantly by Gerald Mosse who got him off the fence before the home turn.
Once in the clear he powered away to score by 2-1/2 lengths from Caulfield Cup placegetter Tullamore ($4).
The Bart Cummings-trained German import Illo (8.50) made a promising Australian debut finishing 1-1/4 lengths away third.
“He is a special horse,” said managing owner Gerry Ryan of Americain who is unbeaten in three starts in Australia.
“Hopefully in ten days time we can see it (the Melbourne Cup win) being repeated.
“Gerald always said this was just a hit-out to see how he’s feeling. He hadn’t been on the horse for quite a while. He hadn’t been on the horse for four months. He was pleased with what he saw yesterday morning.
“We’ll leave tonight knowing that we have a serious horse.
“Last year we had a champion (So You Think) to beat but this time they have to beat him.”
The seven-year-old carried top weight of 58kg under the set weights and penalties conditions of the race.
And he will carry the same weight under the handicap conditions of the Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday week after chief handicapper Greg Carpenter announced the horse would not be penalised for the win.
Tullamore meets Americain 5kg better at the weights in the Melbourne Cup while Illo will be 3.5kg better off.
Americain firmed from $7.50 to $5 favourite for the Cup with TAB Sportsbet after the victory.
“It looks like he really enjoys Australia, like me,” Mosse said.
“I’m quite happy about the acceleration he gave to me today with 58 kilos. I think it’s a nice preparation and we look forward to seeing a big race from him (in the Melbourne Cup).”
Tullamore came in from $26 to $17 for the Cup, but the big firmer was Illo, firming from $41 to $11.
Cummings said Illo was “in with a show” of giving the master trainer his 13th Melbourne Cup success.
“Never say die. He goes down in weight,” he said.
Jockey Luke Nolen described Illo’s run as “an excellent Melbourne Cup trial”.
Nash Rawiller was delighted with the effort of his mount, the runner-up Tullamore.
“My bloke’s going tremendous. To be quite honest, I haven’t had a horse go that good and get beat,” he said.
“The winner was probably pitchforked in at the weights and all jokes aside, he’s an international freak and I couldn’t be happier with my bloke.
“He’ll be better suited over the 3200 metres.”
Chris Symons who rode Shewan (fifth), said the gelding ran as good as he could with the weight (57kg).
“He probably didn’t have the turn of foot that he had last start but that was due to the weight,” he said.
“He attacked the line OK.”