Last year’s Cox Plate
Here is how I see the speedmap. The Cleaner will obviously go forward and not give up the lead, with Mourinho and Pornichet forced to come across from the wide barrier. Fawkner is very tactical and can race back but I think the fear of getting caught wide will force Oliver Forward. Arod will push forward to sit outside or behind the Cleaner and Highland Reel will tuck in behind them. The most advantageous spots appear to go to Criterion, Highland Reel, Happy Trails, Kermadec and Preferment.
Criterion – He’s our WFA star. Smashed them in the Queen Elizabeth before going overseas and running well there against the best horses in the world. His Caufield stakes win was very good 1st up, with Mongolian Khan then going to win the Caulfield Cup. Last year in the Cox he got well back and just as he went to make his run he copped a check and at this exact point Adelaide popped out and made that amazing run. This cost him his chance at getting closer but I don’t think it cost him the race. My only knock comes on his turn of foot, he probably doesn’t have that quick change of pace that is so advantageous at Moonee Valley. So the only way he wins is if he goes forward to sit handy enough that he can build up to his top speed. He has drawn well to do that but the pace will be brutal here so I’m not sure if he can hold on. Video below is when he went to Sha Tin after the Queen Elizabeth.
Fawkner – A very uncharecteristic run in the Caulfield Stakes. This horse just does not have bad runs! On pace and on the rail was definetly not the place to be that day, but I expected a little more. Without inside knowledge it’s hard to tell if he has bounced back or not, barrier 14 has not helped in this race either. Last year he went so close to wining with the franatic pace, and his staying abillity if he bounces back and finds a good enough spot he could be right there in the end again. With the big odds on offer he’s worth a dabble.
Happy Trails – $21 for a horse who just missed and ran second in the 2013 Cox Plate and ran 6th but less then a length away after finding traffic last year is outragyous. Massive Overs! He split Criterion and Mongolian Khan last start in the Caulfield Stakes and he just loves getting out in distance at WFA. By far the best overs of the race. Barrier 13 won’t be that big an issue because he will get back anyway. I don’t have him rated on top but he is by far the biggest overs, get on early and get the big price.
Hartnell – Finished the Turnbull off OK but didn’t have the turn of foot to go with the winner. Ended up being picked off by one or two by the end of the straight aswell. There he was only 2nd up and he is undefeated third up. James Mcdonald has chosen Hartnell aswell suprisingn a lot of punters who thought Complacement would be Godolphin’s top pick. What I like most about him is his ability to sustain a long run, if you watch the video below you see he takes off around the 800m and is able to hold that run the whole way to the line beating off To The World who is no chump. If he produces a run like that third up here could definitely give this race a shake at big odds.
Mourinho – One of the best roughies in the race. He’s a Moonee Valley specialist and his win in the Underwood shows how far he has progressed. He’s a horse who can sustain a long run which is what’s needed to win the Cox Plate. Barrier 12 is going to force him to go very far forward and sit outside the cleaner, because I don’t think he will get in behind Complacent and Highliand Reel so he will have to use up a lot of gas or risk getting caught wide. Mourinho is one of the better roughies but that barrier has really hurt him and I can’t see him running a place now.
The Cleaner – The Lion of Longford. The People’s Champ. Rocky Balboa. The Cleaner has probably been running better than last year but it needs to be noted he is running a lot slower. Now it’s interesting as to whether this is a tactic by the stable or if he has lost his toughness. I have a feeling the stable might be holding him back and come the Cox from barrier two if he can steal some cheap early sectionals and really rev it up to the cruising speeds he was running at last year he will really give this race a sight.
Pornichet – No Chance
Arod – Watch his last run below. Solow is a star who has 5 international group one wins in a row. I watched this race live and instantly thought Cox Plate. He loves the firm tracks and has form over the 2000m even though he is more a miler. He has drawn barrier 5 but my knocks come from the fact he will probably race handy up near The Cleaner, he’s obviously tough but he’s going to have to run ragged for the whole 2040m and for a horse who’s pet distance is the mile it could be a tough ask.
Complacent – He’s been the forgotten horse a little, he can stay, he can race handy. Never raced at Moonee Valley so unsure how he will handle the tight track. $19 is a fair price for him and he’s definitely in with a shot.
Gailo Chop – Bit unknown as to how it will handle the run and the track. Market movement best guide to his chances.
Kermadec – Has a devestating turn of foot but I have a feeling he is just going to be a star miler. Although Chris Waller has said he left him underdone for the Caulfield Stakes I can’t see him turning the table on Criterion and Happy Trails. I’m happy to leave him out of my top four.
Preferment – I think this will just be a tune up for the Melbourne Cup where he is better suited.
Highland Reel – He’s the horse I can’t wait to see. Trained and owned by the same combo as last year’s winner. Aiden Obrien looks to have another great chance in this race. Absolutely smashed his rivals in the Secretariat stakes the same lead up race Adelaide won, Highland Reel then took on Golden Horn the best middle distance horse in the world in the Juddmonte. He did a lot better than Criterion did against that lot and reports are he has traveled well. If you watch both videos below the first is Highland Reel’s win in the Secretariat and the next is Adelaides the year before. The biggest positives is how easily he cuts the corner, how hes going hard before the corner and when under pressure he just puts them away…..he had a lot slower time up front then Adelaide’s race so the overall time was entitled to be slower but he actually ran it in a faster time. He has drawn perfectly in barrier 4 so have him on top in this race.
Winx – Yes she looks a good mare but I don’t think she will win and I don’t think she should be in single figures and here’s why. Her first tough WFA test, she won and Epsom last start against Sons of John and Ecuador they would both be 1000-1 in this. While she does have a great turn of foot she will have to use it at the end of a devestatingly run 2040m, when Gust Of Wind made her chase hard she had no response, I don’t think she has enough staying ability to make a long sustained run. The Cleaner, he has the ability to put horses under pressure, out of their comfort zone and off the bit a long way from home and like my point before I don’t think Winx has the tactical ability or staying talent to sustain that kind of long pressure.
Criterion $16 – $77 Win
Hartnell $16 – $38 Win
Hartnell $4.70 Place – $60 Place
Highland Reel $5 Win – $130 Win
1,4,13,14 Box Quinella $60 = 10x
1,4,13,14/1,2,4,13,14/1,2,3,6,8,9,13,14 Trifecta $40 – 33%
1,4,13/1,3,4,13,14/1,2,3,4,6,8,13,14/1,2,3,4,6,8,9,11,12,13,14 First Four $100 = 18%