Cause for celebration after Moe Cup

Mastermind: Winning Moe Cup trainer Trent Busuttin. Photograph: Zoe Askew




FOR some moments in life, there are no words.

Moe Racing Club finally got the weather it deserved for Moe Cup Day.

With sunshine and temperatures hovering around the mid to late 20s, it was too nice a day to be inside, and racegoers thought so too, as more than 2000 of them flocked to Moe for this year’s cup.

While there was some disruption in terms of facilities, owning to renovations currently taking place in the race day building, the weather was so good people didn’t seem to mind at all.

Really, lush green grass to lay down on and a cold drink to sip is all anyone really needed on a day bathed in sunshine.

Festivities continued during the half hour interlude between races, as general mingling of patrons led to that discernible sound of shoe heals walking over temporary marquee floors.

Like cricket spikes walking over concrete, it is those sort of sounds that provide the soundtrack to a particular season.

So great was the weather, people who would ordinarily bypass the end of the Moe Cup after work couldn’t help but duck over to catch a glimpse of the action.

Those who had stayed all day soaked up the sunshine, and made use of the hospitality on offer.

Moe Racing Club members were moved into the Turfside Bistro as the usual member’s room formed part of the renovations.

Come the end of the last race, ‘Turfy’ was absolutely shoulder-to-shoulder, giving attendees the chance to let the good times roll.

Regardless of whether punters came out in front or not, the vibrancy and positivity emanating from the event itself was worthy of celebration.

Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron joined a string of special guests, including Nationals party colleague, Tim Bull, who was there as not only the Member for Gippsland East but also the Shadow Minister for Racing.

Bull had an even busier schedule than usual, with the Spring Carnival meaning he has no shortage of engagements.

Moe Racing Club Life Member and former chairman, Lance McMillan, wore two hats to the cup, welcoming fellow Country Racing Victoria Board member and chairman Charles Armytage to his home club.

Brad Law was in a similar position, wearing his Moe Racing Club Vice Chairman’s hat and Latrobe City Councillor hat alongside fellow councillors Sharon Gibson and Melissa Ferguson who were also in attendance.

The crossovers didn’t stop there. Prominent Moe businessman, racing and sporting identity Manny Gelagotis was busy doing the catering for one of the marquees through his work in the hospitality sector.

The notion of clubs helping clubs has been a feature of Gippsland country racing in recent years, and Moe Racing Club has been at the forefront of such an initiative. The number of framed local sporting jumpers supported by the racing club nearly takes up the whole wall inside Turfside.

That faith looked to be reciprocated by the number of people who showed up on cup day.
Speaking to Moe Racing Club chairman, Mike Vanderfeen after the Moe Cup was run and won proved oddly redundant, as there was really nothing more to say other than “what a great day”.

“It’s been a fantastic day, blessed with the weather, 28 degrees, well over 2000 people through the gate, people are well-dressed, they participated in fashions on the field, punting was good, so great to see a group of owners take out the cup, couldn’t get better,” he said.

“This year with good weather, the crowd was still coming through the gate at 3.30pm … really good result for us.

“The staff have done a fantastic job, well prepared, it’s gone off extremely well.”

Moe Racing Club will now turn its attention to its Christmas meeting, which Vanderfeen predicts will draw an even bigger crowd if the weather is similar to what it was last Friday.

Given the Moe Cup’s unfortunate association with rain over the years, the clear skies of last week would have surely given people reason to believe any such curse had been lifted.

Hopefully it’s not the only curse that gets lifted in Moe.




A CRACKING day of racing was on show for the Moe Cup last Friday, as more than 2000 spectators flooded to the Moe Racing Club.

Not only did a mass of people come to see racing, fashions or have a punt, but the weather turned it on unlike the usual rainy Moe Cup spectacle.

An actioned-packed nine-race meet was scheduled, the track improving throughout the day from a Soft 5 to a Good 4 thanks to the 27-degree heat.

Trainers the likes of Gai Waterhouse, Peter Moody, Dennis Pagan and cup ambassador Gemma Rielly were among a swarm of talent during the afternoon.

THERE was fireworks from the very start in the TM&H Mitre 10 Maiden Plate ran over 1600 metres.

Local runner Pianta for Moe’s Paul and Tracey Templeton jumped best from the barrier but soon surrendered his early lead to Larson Bay who swooped in from a wider barrier.

Moody’s Linas Reel joined Kingdom Of Castile for Cranbourne’s Enver Jusufovic behind Larson Bay as they turned onto the final straight.

Linas Reel ran from seven back to make a charge, slicing off the rail to make a charge for the line, as did Turpin’s Torment who was nine back at the 800m mark streaming down the middle of the straight.

Kingdom Of Castile was able to take the lead in the final metres to take out the first race of the day, ahead of Linas Reel by a nose, who was a neck ahead of Turpin’s Torment.

Larsen Bay finished about a length behind the winner, while Pianta could only manage an eighth-place finish.

CAPITALISATION for Flemington’s Ben Hayes was able to hold off on comers in Race 2’s Ian Grants Caravans Maiden Plate (1100m).

The well-backed $3.30 runner, who is known to lead, did just that, and after two second place finishes to start his career, he was finally off the mark.

Hugging the inside rail, he let the other runners fare for themselves as he shot out to a comfortable two length lead once he crossed the line.

Silver Hammer overtook Beaunified – who held onto second for most of the race – to upgrade his spot on the podium. The $2.70 favourite Sea Mist fell back to fourth.

IT was a hot contest at the front of the field during the Race 3 Clearview Radiology Maiden Plate (1100m), with two horses going back and forth over the sprint.

Both Frosty Vonn for the Templeton’s and Fanagoria for Pakenham’s Phillip Stokes made searching starts both holding a leading position from the jump.

They traded positions often, but as they rounded the bend, Fanagoria found another gear to take a clear lead, bursting out to a lead of more than two lengths.

The $2.60 favourite came home strong to take the win, with Frosty Vonn finishing closer to third-placed Alletante.

No Savings for Moe’s Christine Sexton held firm in a midfield position to finish sixth – the only other local in this race.

THE track was upgraded to a Good 4 ahead of the Race 4 Moe Optical ‘Royal Snack’ Handicap Benchmark 70 (2050m).

Two heavyweights went at it, but it was once again the favourite that prevailed – Hoops for Danny O’Brien of Barwon Heads.

Pagan’s Georgie Get Mad, paying $5.50 for the win, was well in contention after leading the pack around the 800 and 400m marks.

But on the straight she began to fall while on the rail, allowing more runners to put their names into the winning hat.

Hoops cut further outside from the rail after placing herself in an off-pace position, meanwhile Fire Glo Too was steaming down the outside to make a challenge for the lead.

Hoops was able to hang on with Fire Glo Too within close quarters, just a neck behind in second.

Raid The Bar would have paid dividends for an each-way bet paying $9.60 for a place ahead of the race, before finishing third.

Dahwilly for Moe’s Allison Bennett was only able to make up the numbers, racing at the rear and finishing in eighth.

WHAT appeared to be the trend of the day happened once again in the Race 5 TRFM Handicap BM64 (1600m), when the $2.50 favourite War Frontier for Caulfield’s Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr came up trumps.

In a race filled with local talent, only one could make their way onto the podium, yet was not far from the eventual win.

Rielly’s Labhuku filtered to the front out of the barriers and lead the field around and onto the straight.

Waterhouse’s Golden Pierro was primed in second position, but soon fell back at the rounded bend, dropping to eighth.

War Frontier burst onto the scene from a backmarker position, going from eighth to first during the length of the Moe straight, stealing the win at the very last by a nose.

Local talent was scattered all over the track; Schweinsteiger for Sale’s Damien Walkley managed to claim third, Jakk’s Fortune for Sale’s Adam Hanley took fifth, Ripplebrook for Sale’s Sharon Trolove was sixth, A Penny Spent was next in seventh for Sale’s Heather Stephens and Delightful Journey for Sexton dropped from fourth to ninth in the space of the straight.

IN back-to-back races the winner crossed the line with just their nose in front, as Rhinoceros for Pakenham’s Emma-Lee and David Browne claimed Race 6’s Bottlemart Moe Mile Handicap BM78 (1600m).

Leading once again from the barrier, another horse was able to take it all the way home, this time hanging on by a thread.

Rhinoceros looked strong throughout the mile-long race, but right at the last received some welcomed news in the form of Seb Song who was donning for the lead.

Seb Song climbed from six back at the 400m mark and would have won if there was another 50m of track to run.

But this two-horse race only went one way and that was in the favour of Rhinoceros, winning by a nose.

The favourite, Place Of Gold, could only muster a third place finish, while Moe local Sharper for Michael Templeton ended his fight early, dropping from second to sixth in the space of 400 metres.

HORSES traded positions in numbers during Race 7’s Harcourts Moe/Newborough Handicap BM64 (1000m).

The field just about flipped in terms of positioning as they came onto the straight, with the leaders filtering back and the midfield and backmarkers coming to the front.

Jungle Sensation and Young Liam took the reins of the race at the beginning, but would soon find out they weren’t cut out for the win, finishing fifth and 10th respectively.

Oppositely, coming to the front was Only Need Time and Moody’s Funzelle, but they were swiftly outdone by A Little Deep for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

The well-backed $5 mare rose the ranks from seventh to climb to an emphatic win ahead of the Moe Cup, doing so comfortably by more than two lengths.

Trolove’s Not Enough Effort finished seventh, while Delivery Man for Sale’s Rebecca Kelly came 11th.

Well-backed $6.50 horse Empressive Enuff was unable to trouble the rest of the field, following a poor jump from the barrier, holding 12th for the whole race.

THE final race of the meet saw five horses finish within around two lengths of the lead, and it had to be a roughie to complete the day.

The favourite, Etienne priced at $3.10 took the lead, but unlike many horses on the day, was unable to hold on until they reached the line.

He was soon trampled by those running behind him, Toronto Terrier and Extreme Flight for Mornington’s Anthony and Sam Freedman.

Once on the main straight, both Toronto Terrier and Extreme Flight had passed the leader and made it a two-horse race to the line.

Extreme Flight took the lead on the inside rail and made a break for the line and stretched out to a half-a-length lead.

The $11 entrant did the impossible, winning as a mid-priced roughie, claiming the third win of its career.




THERE must be something about the Moe track Suizuro fancies.

The four-year-old gelding took out this year’s Moe Cup after a determined performance across 2050 metres.

Trailing favourite Claidheamh Mor for most of the race, Suizuro and jockey Craig Newitt found something extra in the last 400 metres, eventually powering away to win by three lengths.

That extra something may well have come from Suizuro’s fanatical connections, who were absolutely beside themselves as their horse crossed the line first.

Newitt stood up as he rode home, surely in acknowledgement of the work that had gone in behind the scenes from all involved.

Topping off the win for the connections was the fact some of them were also celebrating their birthday.

Shouts of “on ya Froggy!” as Newitt entered the mounting yard rang out, in what was described as a “typically Froggy win” by some.

The Race 8 Ladbrokes Moe Cup featured a nine horse-strong field.

While the field may have been small, it ended up being a case of quality over quantity as spectators were treated to a competitive run all the way around.

Claidheamh Mor took control in the early stages, up until when it mattered, but soon found himself in trouble with oncoming horses in his vicinity.

It soon became apparent who would challenge for the lead, with off-pace runner Suizuro for Cranbourne’s Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young making its move.

Also in the mix was Convener and Blazerro – who was priced at $21.

But as they made the turn and ran a couple of hundred mentres down the straight, there was only going to be one winner, and that was Suizuro, who smoked the field and stretched out to win the Moe Cup.

The win made it consecutive victories for Suizuro at Moe – albeit eight months apart.

Busuttin has experienced reasonable form with Suizuro since then, gaining four placings from 10 starts.

With the connections soaking up their victory, Busuttin was quick to play credit to Newitt for steering the horse home.

“Good ride by our bloke … a good tough win,” he said.

“The horse is naturally a frontrunning horse, but Froggy, he’s a noted good frontrunning rider, he box-seated, worked out perfectly for him so he got the job done.”

Having shown its ability to win on wet and dry tracks, Busuttin said there was reason to be confident heading in.

“We knew he was a genuine each-way chance, our blokes a decent horse, we’d be disappointed if he wasn’t top-three, luckily it was first,” he said.

“Either either, wet/dry track he’s won on both, it’s good with a horse like that you don’t have to worry about it.”

Suizuro will get to soak up his Moe Cup victory just like his owners, as Busuttin is unsure exactly where he will next race at this point in time.

The only local in the running for the cup, Not A Problem for Moe’s Allison Bennett, finished sixth, collecting $2600 of the purse.




SPRING racing – the best racing time of the year as myriads flock to the track to flaunt their best looks.

There’s always plenty of room for fun with fashion during racing time.

While the Moe Cup might not precisely be the Melbourne Cup, local fashionistas wouldn’t have looked out of place among the upper echelon of racing society last Friday.

The latest trends seen at the state’s biggest tracks across the country were on display in little old Moe.

From maxi skirts, suits, lace, art prints, off-the-shoulder cuts, bows and pastels, Moe saw it all.

The Fashions on the Field host for the day was local personality Brodie Pyle. The young fashion content creator has amassed a huge following and has used his bubbly persona and passion for fashion to stand in as master of ceremonies at many events across the region.

The stunning judging panel consisted of Breanne Beatson, the former face of Country Racing Victoria, Jaz Flowers the singer and digital creator and famous influencer Olivia White, known as her Instagram handle Houseofwhite.

Fashions on the Field began with the best headwear competition. Judges looked for the most stunning headpiece among the six entrants. Home-made designs influenced by floral patterns featured heavily, with even a unique Mad Hatters hat from Alice in Wonderland in appearance.

Newborough-born Sarah Erdely stunned judges, taking out first place with a custom-made hat designed by none other than Maffra-raised Kim Fletcher.

“It feels really good. I just had a baby, so I was feeling really bad about my body, and I thought, you know what – rather than sit at home, I’d get all dressed up and come down, and I’m glad I did,” she said.

Seeking inspiration from her sunflower dress, Ms Erdely wanted a hat that would draw inspiration from the colours of the flower, and Fletcher’s design proved to do just that.
Shortly after, Moe’s best dressed men took a stab at the competition, posing in their locally derived suits to wow the judges.

Local man Graham Martin styled himself from pieces he bought at Panthers Menswear in Moe.

Defying fashion laws, Mr Martin disclosed that he had previously “worn this outfit on a cruise ship, where they make you dress up for dinner,” he said.

While reusing the same outfit twice is often a big fashion no-no, Mr Martin looked too dapper not to be awarded the first place sash.

The second best dressed man at the Moe Races, Jackson Bright, “dressed himself, believe it or not,” he said.

“(With a) suit from yd., shirt from Tommy Hilfiger, socks from Ralph Lauren,” Mr Bright was a well-deserved second place winner.

Frequenting the Moe Cup Race Day, Bright did not place in the competition last year. But with a runners-up under his belt, Bright aims to go all the way next year, considering some headwear to elevate the look in 2024.

The day’s fashions didn’t stop there as it became a family affair on the stage as best headwear winner Erdely not only dressed herself up for the occasion but styled her little boys as well.

Too cute in their yellow bow ties and white button-ups, eight-week-old Beau and two-year-old Finn matched their mother’s sunflower colours and natural fabrics to win Best Dressed Family.

Despite a few tears from a tired toddler, the Erdely family looked both harmonious and fabulous.

“Getting them on stage at nap time was a bit tricky,” Erdely laughed.

Women soon began to touch up their makeup and fix their fascinators as the main event was set to occur.

The Best Dressed Lady was a tough competition, as women from far and wide graced the stage in designs of all styles and colours.

The judges deliberated for an extensive amount of time, narrowing the nearly 30 women down to the final eight.

With a decision still to be made, the three fashion judges took a closer look at the finalists’ footwear and accessories to make their final call.

Karlie Owen shined under the sunlight with an artistic ensemble epitomising Spring racing.

Winning best dressed lady, Owen was proud to showcase the particular design.

“The dress is ethically sourced, and it’s produced by a company called Raw Cloth in Darwin,” she said.

The design made from Dutch wax batik fabric.

“It’s been sitting in my wardrobe waiting since April to be worn, and I made the headpiece to match the dress”.

In the millinery industry, Owen’s business is called Jettah and Till Design.

When asked what it meant to win with an ethically sourced dress, Owen said, “It was a bit more organic and a little more wow factor … I think the designer will be really really stoked,” she said.

Local Newborough native Jo Thorpe took out second place with a beautiful monochrome ensemble.

Sticking with Spring trends, Thorpe opted for a two-piece maxi skirt in black and white.
“It’s Sass and Bibe, both the skirt and the top … I started with the skirt first, and I had that since April, and I bought the top and saved it for the day,” she said.

Standing out among the spring florals and pastels, Thorpe said she opted for the Derby Day dress code as a little “something different.”

When asked if she thought she had a chance among the other race day models, the modest Thorpe said, “Absolutely not. To be honest, I just love getting dressed up and I wasn’t even sure I would participate today.”

The chic local hairdresser looked sophisticated and refined as a well-deserved second, although she never expected even to enter the competition.

Great run: Suizuro returns to the mounting yard after winning the 2023 Moe Cup. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Racing Photos

Mastermind: Winning Moe Cup trainer Trent Busuttin. Photograph: Zoe Askew