The Mike Moroney-trained Loyalty Man has survived a protest to win the $110,000 Wodonga Cup.
Loyalty Man ($2.90) won by a ½ length from London Fog ($8.50), with Entre Nous ($2.50 fav) a short-neck back in third, but London Fog’s jockey Daniel Moor immediately lodged a complaint, claiming interference from the top of the straight to the winning post.
“You could see that the winner straightened up three off the fence, three off the inside fence, and probably ends up maybe three off the outside fence,” Moor said.
“He did cart me and the third horse off the track, so through indirect interference I didn’t think my bloke had every chance, so I thought I’d have a shot at the stumps, and unfortunately the margin was a bit too far, if the margin had been shorter, it probably would have been interesting.”
Moroney wasn’t at the track, but his racing foreman spoke about the protest from Moor.
“Thought he was beaten, he was carted off the track, which he probably was… but the stewards didn’t think it was enough to uphold the decision as it was a ½ length margin,” Greg Hoysted said.
Border trainer Brian Cox was chasing his 12th Wodonga Cup, with his three runners – Murdoch’s Joy, Minnie Downs and Baby Jack – all at double-figure odds.
Murdoch’s Joy was contesting a fifth home-town Cup, but by the 400m mark, it was another local entry, the club-owned Providential, which was pushing Loyalty Man, but it couldn’t power home, finishing fifth
Two of Victoria’s highest-profile trainers – David Hayes and Darren Weir – scratched their horses, Tashbeeh and Profit Share respectively, with 11 starting the 1590m race.
Loyalty Man came under pressure in the straight before the thrilling finish.
“He’s always been that type of horse, you see when he’s won his races at Sandown and Flemington and the like, he always seems to wait for the other horses basically to come up to him,” jockey Patrick Moloney said.
“So hopefully he’s slowly getting that out of his trade, and once he learns to really attack the line, he can be a serious horse.”
Hoysted admits the “penny hasn’t quite dropped yet” with the four-year-old, and there’s enormous improvement in the gelding.
“Oh yes, he could be a Stakes horse,” he said.
And Moloney capped his win with a salute.
“A bit of a thank you to the owners, basically they’ve stuck be me, especially Rupert Legh, he’s been a massive supporter of mine … I didn’t get it right last time, I made up for it today.”
It was Loyalty Man’s fifth win.