Trainer: Vic Rail
Owners: Jeff Perry, Garry Roberts
Race record / Prizemoney: 83 starts, 26 wins, 14 seconds, 9 thirds / $3,118,100
- Alister Clark Stakes 1987
- A.R. Creswick Stakes 1987
- Turnbull Stakes 1987, 1988
- Futurity Stakes 1988
- Blamey Stakes 1988, 1989
- C F Orr Stakes 1989, 1990
- Winfield Stakes 1988
- St. George Stakes 1988, 1989
- William Reid Stakes 1988
- Australian Cup 1989, 1990
- George Main Stakes 1989
Vo Rogue was a champion Queensland-trained racehorse whose daring front-running tactics endeared him to the racing public and helped him set new race records. He amassed 26 wins, 23 placings and $3.1 million in prize money across four states.
His popularity was enhanced by his status as an underdog. Neither his sire, Ivor Prince, nor dam, Vow, were race winners. Until Vo Rouge began winning top-class metropolitan races, his unconventional trainer Vic Rail and regular jockey Cyril Small were little known. Horse, trainer and jockey, however, soon became household names. ‘Doing a Vo Rogue’ meant leading all the way.
Vo Rogue was foaled near Yass, New South Wales in 1983, sold cheaply as a weanling by his breeder Dr L.V. Merchant to Queenslander Jeff Perry. After several unplaced runs, the bay gelding first won at Eagle Farm Racecourse in June 1986. He emerged as a potential champion in autumn 1987, winning the 2000 metre A.R. Creswick Handicap at Flemington by eight lengths. Days later he broke the Moonee Valley 2040 metre record winning the Alister Clark Stakes.
Over the next four years Vo Rogue won or was placed in most of the best weight-for-age races in Australia. Rubiton beat him in the 1987 Cox Plate only by breaking the course record after Vo Rogue went 20 lengths out in front. Vo Rogue returned to Moonee Valley in January 1988 to win the Group 1 William Reid Stakes over 1200 metres. He smashed Amiable’s 1600 metre record at Flemington, which had stood for nearly 50 years and set new Caulfield records over 1400m (the Futurity) and 1800m. A much-heralded ‘match race’ with Bonecrusher in the Australian Cup turned into a stunning boilover when longshot Dandy Andy caught Vo Rogue near the line.
The following spring Vo Rogue won the Turnbull Stakes, and Empire Rose narrowly beat him in the Mackinnon Stakes before she won the Melbourne Cup. In Perth he won the Group 1 Winfield Stakes. Gary Roberts became a part owner in 1989.
Other wins included the George Main Stakes, the C.F. Orr Stakes three times and the Australian Cup twice. His only dislike was a wet track. His laconic trainer upgraded his assessment of the horse from ‘great galloper’ to ‘phenomenal’. After injury and a slight decline in form, Vo Rogue was retired in 1991 to Jeff Perry’s farm where he lived to the age of 29.
“He had the speed and he wanted to be there [out in front] so we rode him that way. That's how he was beating them: running them in to the ground." Cyril Small