*Story from Swettenham Stud

Puissance De Lune is off and running with his first winner after an impressive debut performance by Moonlight Maid at Geelong over 1240 metres on Friday for Ballarat based trainer Mitchell Freeman.

In a highly competitive race, up against a couple of well-spruiked fancies, a heavy 10 track and an awkward barrier, Moonlight Maid was able to overcome these challenges for breeder and owners John Sutcliffe and Gerry Ryan.

Proudly running in Gerry Ryan’s colours, the same colours Puissance De Lune wore successfully, the big girl greedily ate up the field and pulled away easily in the straight.

“I still can’t get over having the first Puissance De Lune winner. Once she wound up, she did it effortlessly. The Puissance De Lune’s can be tall, leggy horses and although she is already big and strong, she will only get better when she fills out and matures.” John Sutcliffe commented.

“Mitch will look after her and give her the time she needs, giving her the best chance to fulfil an exciting future ahead, and I hope this filly generates more mares to head to the handsome son of Shamardal this year,” breeder Sutcliffe enthused.

“Adam Sangster works exceptionally hard to support the local breeding community, and I appreciate all he and Gerry Ryan do for the Victorian industry. They deserve to be rewarded for their efforts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Puissance De Lune now really take off.” Sutcliffe said.

“It was even world news, with Swettenham’s Sam Matthews following the race from abroad, and sending a congratulatory text message straight after.” He said.

Trainer Mitch Freedman was quietly confident and was looking forward to Moonlight Maid showing what she was capable of, after an outstanding last gallop at trackwork.

“She only had one very soft trial, and then she galloped with a maiden winner on Saturday in trackwork and blew him away. That was a big confidence booster.” Mitch Freedman said.

“She loved the wet track, and Jye McNeil did a great job keeping her on an even keel throughout the race.  She was able to travel out wide smoothly; not stopping and starting her momentum. She is a pretty classy filly,” Freedman said.

While jockey McNeil was also quick to sing Moonlight Maid’s praises post-race.

“Mitch gave me a good insight as to what her path was leading into today, and being a big filly, the aim was to keep her balanced and in a good rhythm throughout running.” Jye McNeil said.

“Once I let her head go, she was able to quicken nicely.  It is good to know she can handle the soft conditions so early in her career,” McNeil said.

And while plans are yet to be confirmed on which direction the filly will now take, both courses are nice options to have.

“We are still to decide on a definite plan, but she is a filly with a very bright future,” Freedman said.

“We have the Gibson Carmichael and the Byerly coming up at Flemington if she pulls up well, or there is the possibility we may put her away and bring her back for some nice races in the spring.” He said.

Being the first of Puissance De Lune’s progeny to salute, with only a handful to race, Moonlight Maid is out of Sutcliffe’s mare Take Manhattan, who he successfully raced in the late 1990’s.

“She has become an excellent producer of city winners, and her first foal was Manhattan Treasure, who I still breed from now. She has had five winners including Biatreasure (Bianconi), and two-time winner in the city, Winston Drive (Churchill Downs).

“Manhattan Maid has been booked to visit Highland Reel this year, and after Moonlight Maid hopefully wins a couple more, we are likely to send her back for another date with Puissance the following year, now we know the cross works.” He said.

While Manhattan Treasure is currently residing at Swettenham Stud with a lovely Toronado filly at foot.

“She is a brilliant type, and he throws such a lovely foal, stamping his stock with class. Treasure will definitely be returning to Victoria the following year, back to Toronado due to the quality filly she has already produced.” Sutcliffe said.

Sutcliffe is a proud supporter of the VOBIS scheme, one he believes is “integral to racing and breeding horses in Victoria.”

“Every horse Gerry and I breed, or race are signed up straight away for Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold. It is an essential part of our industry, and the significant VOBIS money gives each horse the ability to pay their own way.” He said.

“Even when mares head interstate for a cover, they will still come back to Victoria to foal and will be back breeding to a Victorian stallion the next year, so we can make the most of the incentives.” John commented.

By consistent sire Shamardal, Puissance De Lune was a multiple Group winner including the 2013 Group 2 P.B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and Group Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m). He also placed in 4 Group 1s including the 2013 and 2014 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

Puissance De Lune stands at Swettenham Stud for $8,000 in 2019.

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