Francesco Guardi sizzles in Moonee Valley Gold Cup

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Mark down as a  contender for next year after his commanding 3.75-length victory in the .

The five-year-old gelding took the lead with 450m to go in the Group 2 feature worth $1 million over 2500m and did it comfortably from there.

2022 Moonee Valley Gold Cup

Even champion gave a fist pump after he crossed the line, such was the impression the performance left on him.

“He was strong. He was bred to do that and he was very unlucky last start, and the writing was on the wall,” he told

“That was a beautiful staying performance. He's by the right sire () with a beautiful family, so he's a good horse.”

Winning trainer said the Irish runner had been gradually improving since arriving Down Under last year.

“It was a timely win. The horse has been working his way into form. He's been in Australia probably 18 months and he's just been gradually getting there,” he said.

“The writing was on the wall with a good run at (second in the on October 1) last start.

“So it was good to back it up in a massive race today.”

Waller said he'd love to set Francesco Guardi for a Melbourne Cup start next year.

“We just thought he was a year early. But in 12 months' time it might be a different story,” he said.

“Winning races like today is not easy, but the Melbourne Cup is a whole new level.

“So I think we'll just regroup after today and have a good throw at the stumps next year.”

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