Back on Wednesday, September 11 at Bendigo many would have black-booked two three-year-olds by Puissance de Lune (IRL) and trained by Mitchell Freedman.
They were the maiden colt Southern Moon who would come out a fortnight later and finish second in the Victoria Derby Trial at Flemington and the filly Moonlight Maid.
Now Moonlight Maid had already earned the honour of being the first winner for her sire when cruising home by two and a quarter length when making her career debut at Geelong back in June. She backed that up with a fast-finishing fourth in the Listed Taj Rossi Final at Flemington three weeks later.
She had been off the scene for nine weeks when a luckless fourth at Bendigo, which proved the perfect pipe opener for her barnstorming performance in Saturday’s Group II Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington.
Carrying the familiar colours of Gerry Ryan, Moonlight Maid came from last, swept around all 15 of her opponents under Ben Melham to win a touch cosily by three-quarters of a length from the Charm Spirit (IRL) filly Fascino with the Reliable Man (GB) filly Miami Bound the same distance back in third. (images Grant Courtney ).
It was the first stakes-winner for her 30-year-old trainer who is a friend of who recently landed his first Group 1 when Begood Toya Mother won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.
“We sat down at one time and said if we can’t train a stakes winner in 10 years, we should give it away, so we’re happy to tick that off,” Freedman said.
“It has taken a lot of hard work to get her to switch off. We targeted the Manifold, I’m not sure if she will get to the (Victoria) Oaks but she really blossomed first up to second up,” Mitchell Freedman said.
“She was ring rusty at Bendigo but she has come on so much but I was spewing when she drew barrier 19.
“They was plenty of heat on and Benny (Melham) got rode the perfect race to get her to the outside.
“She’s right on track, she’s a Group II winner out of a horse I’ve had a lot of thrills with, I’ve looked after the mother and the father as a foreman (for Darren Weir) and it’s great to be able to train the progeny of them.”
Bred by Gerry Ryan’s Limerick Lane Thoroughbreds, Moonlight Maid is the second foal and second winner out of the Listed SAJC Dequetteville Stakes winner Manhattan Maid (Choisir).
Manhattan Maid missed for the next two seasons after Moonlight Maid and was covered by Hellbent last spring.
A son of the top-class Shamardal (USA), Puissance de Lune (IRL) was an outstanding performer who was at his best in the spring in 2012 winning the Listed Bendigo Cup (by 8L), Group III Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington (by 5L) and the Group II Blamey Stakes and was edged out in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes.
He is a three-quarter brother Zabeel Prince who recently won the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp.
Puissance de Lune (IRE) stands at Swettenham Stud in 2019 at a fee of $8,800.
Article Courtesy of Breednet
TBV Hoofnote: Since this article was written Southern Moon won his maiden race at Donald on the 8th of October 2019. Trained by Mitch Freedman and the colt is sired by Puissance De Lune and is a homebred for Victorian breeder and Racing Victoria director, Mike Hirst.