A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
The Sportingbet Cox Plate is Australasia’s weight-for-age championship over the famous 2040 meters at Moonee Valley. The 2013 renewal features Australia and New Zealand’s finest as well as two internationals to compliment a star studded field.
The race has been somewhat marred by the shock scratching of race favourite Atlantic Jewel just after Tuesday’s barrier draw. Without the anointed heir to Black Caviar, the race lacks a world class superstar with the calibre of Sunline or So You Think but still boasts top class Group 1 winners.
Here is a quick run down on each horse so when your mate at the pub wants your view on a horse you can reel off a few quick facts and look like a pro.
Green Moon – After winning last year’s Melbourne Cup, Green Moon announced to the racing world that he is a top class stayer. He was a $5 favourite in the Cox Plate last year when he ran an uncharacteristically poor race to be well beaten by Ocean Park and superstar 3 year olds All Too Hard and Pierro. After a calculated lead up in two slowly run races over shorter trips the horse comes into the race ready to strike third up from a spell. Most likely the best chance from the firing Lloyd Williams team, Green Moon is not to be underrated and looks to get a good run on the speed, even from gate 12.
Happy Trails – Probably the forgotten horse in the race who comes off a very good win in the Turnball stakes, beating the Caulfield Cup winner, Fawkner. He is underrated and the trainer controversy will obviously have no effect on the horse’s chances. He is a blowout chance at double figures.
Fiorente – This horse has been very competitive in every run in Australia. Trained by the Sydney superstar Gai Waterhouse, he showed in the Dato Tan Chin Nam stakes over a mile at Moonee Valley that he has a blinding sprint. From gate 15 will probably have to go back and requires luck to be able to put himself in the race to pounce at the right time.
Foreteller – Trained by the master in Chris Waller who is firing on all cylinders in Sydney and now Melbourne. Underrated galloper who can unleash a tidy sprint over the middle distances. May lack the top shelf class but is certainly a worthy runner and not without a flukers chance.
Side Glance – He has been running in quality Group 1 races around the globe and comes here with wins from 1200m to 1700m. It is difficult to get a gauge on how well the horses have settled in and how they will perform but on raw form to date a mid field finish looks likely. Don’t discount Craig Williams from producing a peach of a ride from gate 1 and this horse surprising a few by sneaking into a place.
Seville – Coming off a 2400m win in the Metropolitan at Randwick, this horse has finally hit winning form. He will probably roll forward and be as tough as any in the race.
Rekindled Interest – A so-called Moonee Valley specialist who produces his best form at this track. His first up run over the sprint trip was good behind Le Bonsoir and can run on into a place with some luck but you would think his best is behind him and he is not going as well as in the past when he was unable to figure prominently in this race.
Puissance De Lune – The once Melbourne Cup favourite comes into the race with a new jockey after Glen Boss was suspended for the race. Ben Melham takes the ride and he will be in the first half of the field. If you back him you won’t miss the grey horse that is likely to look the winner at some point near the finish. A great chance in the race.
Masked Marvel – A highly touted Team Williams horse that is fancied by many smart judges in the Melbourne Cup. You would assume this race would be a good tune up for the first Tuesday in November.
Mull of Killough – The second international horse that has solid middle distance form. One important element may be his wet track form, which looks superior to many of the other horses in the race. If it is wet, he may be a blowout to finish 3rd or 4th. Once again it is hard to measure them up against our local horses.
It’s a Dundeel – The New Zealand superstar comes off a slight hiccup with a recent foot abscess. He missed a race and comes into the race 3rd up with some query as to his fitness. There is no doubt he is the best horse in the race at his best but what impact will the set back have, only time will tell. His only venture to Moonee Valley saw him be defeated by rival Super Cool in last years AAMI Vase over the same distance. He is the only horse to take the scalp of Atlantic Jewel and is without doubt the horse to beat. If he wins, we will look back and think the $4 was a stupid price, if he loses, well we blame the setback and he will probably win the Mackinnon on Derby Day or whatever race he goes to next.
Super Cool – Coming off a slightly disappointing preparation so far but he is fit and ready for this race. He was favourite when not far behind Fiorente here in the Dato. He was beaten by Atlantic Jewel by a long way at Caulfield and Foreteller had his measure that day also. He looks like he will have to improve to measure up to the top few but he has the past form behind It’s A Dundeel and an Australian Cup win as a 3 year old on his CV which bodes well for this. If he can recapture that form he is a live chance.
Long John – The Darley 3 year old will be a fan with many of the punters who have collected off his last few wins. He won well in the Caulfield Guineas and trainer Peter Snowden wouldn’t be running in this race unless he believed the horse was a great hope. He has very good 3 year old form but it doesn’t look as strong as past years who have failed to win the race. In saying that, with the 49.5kgs many punters will be putting their faith in him to produce a small upset.
Shamus Award – A maiden running in the Cox Plate. Yes, he has performed pretty well against his own age but he looks totally outclassed in this race. I am not sure you can know if the distance will suit and he may improve sharply on what he has produced so far but would need to.
The Cox Plate will be the last race of 19 over the Cox Plate Carnival with a 9 race program scheduled for Friday Night, including the Group 1 Manikato Stakes. The pinnacle will be the final race on Saturday which is the feature and will be watched by millions around the world.
If you enjoy a little flutter on the horses, perhaps look no further than It’s A Dundeel. He is a brilliant horse and should be extremely hard to beat. If you prefer a horse you can see clearly in the run, Puissance De Lune is the only grey horse in the race and will be fancied by many smart punters on the day. If you prefer a long shot, have a few dollars each way on Green Moon or Super Cool.