Friday Night Australian Racing (Cox Plate!!) – 10/23/15

Race 9A (Moonee Valley) AUD $3.0 Million Cox Plate (Group 1) – 2040 meters (approximately 10 furlongs).  Post time 2:40 AM EDT Saturday.

The W.S. Cox Plate is simply one of the World’s most important races, and represents “Australasia’s” 10-furlong invitational championship under “weight for age” conditions (essentially the format used in the Breeders’ Cup).

Going over the form, there does dot appear to be a horse that is dominant, but here are my top 4 picks:

Top Pick #13 Highland Reel (post 4) comes from the Irish-based Aidan O’Brien/Coolmore machine, and this colt has been pointed for this race after it was apparent he was not good enough to handle Golden Horn and/or Treve at Classic distances.  Highland Reel has wins at 10 furlongs and 12 furlongs, along with a respectable fifth-place showing in the Irish Champion Stakes against Euro superstars Golden Horn, Found and Free Eagle.  Post 4 definitely helps hime to save ground in the run and I think he should be able to have every chance tracking the early pace.  These connections won the Cox Plate with Adelaide last year following a very similar summer 2015 campaign. #13 Highland Reel is the current 4/1 favorite with the bookies.

2nd Pick #14 Winx (post 1) has a devastating late kick and gets Hugh Bowman to ride, which is a HUGE plus, as he excels with closers.  She has never had success at this distance but has won her last 4 in a row and the race pace flatters her late finish style.  Current bookie odds:  5/1

3rd Pick #4 Hartnell (post 3) was considered one of the best horses in Australia last March 2015, but since returning off the traditional winter break he has been, well, terrible.  Sometimes in Australia horses do not carry their good form from one seasonal prep to the next.  Still, Hartnell has a great trainer/owner operation in John O’Shea/Godolphin behind him, has great European stamina bloodlines, and an inside draw.  His last race is competitive with the other Australian-based runners on speed figures and maybe being 3rd off the layoff will be the charm.  At least there is value here and I truly believe this guy has the ability to compete for the win.  Current bookie odds:  17/1

4th Pick #2 Fawkner (post 14) is an 8 year old warrior in race that strongly favors that are 4 or 5 years old.  With an inside draw last year (post 4) he got beat a neck for the Cox Plate as a 7 year old.  This year it looks like he may have lost a step and he got post 14, a very unfortunate draw at Moonee Valley, a race track which has the tightest turns in Australia.  I have a gut feeling he’ll still claw his way into a top 4 finish.  Current bookie odds:  14/1


Leave a Reply