Cup on horizon for New Moon

Cambridge owner-trainer Tony Devcich has proved one point with his under-rated galloper New Moon and he’s out to do it again.

Devcich raised plenty of eyebrows when he paid a late entry for New Moon in the Group I $300,000 NZ Bloodstock Spring Classic at Hastings on October 1. The move drew some flak from pundits, claiming the three-race winner would be well out of his depth.

But Devcich had the last laugh when his 80/1 longshot finished gallantly for fourth, just over three lengths from the Cox Plate favourite Jimmy Choux. And whereas Jimmy Choux saved ground by sneaking through near the fence in the run home New Moon was forced to make his run around horses and he ran on resolutely to be a length and a quarter off the second-placed deadheaters Red Ruler and Hold It Harvey.

“People might have thought we had no show, but I wouldn’t have paid up if I didn’t think he’d go a good race,” said Devcich. “I was proud off him and happy with the way Jason (Jago) rode him.”

The late entry fee was $5000 and New Moon picked up $15,000 for his effort, making the exercise well worthwhile.

Devcich says New Moon has come through the Hastings outing in good order and had originally considered aiming him at another weight-for-age event, the Group II Nicolas Feuillatte Stakes at Ellerslie on November 1. But after discussions with the chief handicapper, Dean Nowell, he has decided to stick to handicap racing.

“He’ll run next in a Rating 90 at Ellerslie on October 22 then go back to Ellerslie on November 1 for the open 1600,” said Devcich. “After that I’ll aim him at the Counties Cup. The timing between races will suit him and I think he’ll be ready to win over ground.”

The Group II $100,000 DHL Counties Cup (2100m) is at Pukekohe on November 19 and it will be just his second start beyond 1600. The Spring Classic was his debut over ground so that added to the merit of his performance.