Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spring Racing Carnival – The Cox Plate

Last Saturday’s running of the Caulfield Cup resulted in a 40/1 winner, the totally overlooked Godolphin horse All The Good who won by a couple of lengths from the New Zealand stayer Nom de Jeu with rank outsider Barbaricus coming third. Weekend Hussler showed definitively that he can’t stay, finishing way back in 12th place. He has now been spelled for the rest of the spring, but will be back in autumn to compete in shorter races, in which he obviously excels.

Mad Rush, the other runner I was interested in, put in an excellent run, being guided by his jockey through the pack of tiring horses to flash into fourth place.

This Saturday sees the running of the second big race of the spring, the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. It has to be one the weakest Cox Plate fields I have ever seen, but it is not without interest.

One can only speculate on the outcome with such questions as:
Will Samantha Miss live up to her hype and be the first filly to win the race in 30+ years?

Can Princess Coup, fresh from two consecutive Group One victories New Zealand, finally win a Group One in Australia? In autumn she seemed to be the eternal bridesmaid, storming home late to just miss winning.

And how will she handle the Moonee Valley track, on which she will be racing for the first time?

Ditto with Samantha Miss whose previous victories have all been in Sydney against her own age group.

There are only 12 runners in the Cox Plate this year and any one of them could be the winner. The race has yielded some unexpected results in the past - witness Fields of Omagh in 2006 winning the race for a second time at the grand old age of nine.

Princess Coup’s nemesis in the autumn was Sirmione who beat her twice in the Australian Cup and the Mackinnon Stakes, and he, being trained by the great master trainer Bart Cummings, cannot be overlooked. Nor can Zipping or Alamosa be totally ignored.

Mares have a good record in the Cox Plate, so I think I will stick with the girls in particular the Kiwi Princess.

Current hyped colt Whobegotyou is also racing on Saturday in the Group 2 AAMI Vase. His trainer wisely refrained from being tempted with the Cox Plate millions and settling for an easier race, stating he didn’t want to crucify the colt by throwing him into the big end of racing too early in his career.


Valerie said...

That was the first time I've watched a race at Moonee Valley. What a funny track! The finish line was almost upon them when they came out of the last turn. That must be disconcerting to horses not used to the track. Think that affected our two fillies?

Samantha Miss certainly put in a tremendous effort against older horses and covering the distance for the first time. What are their plans for her next?

I see Princess Coup came out fine, and will head to next Saturday's Mackinnon Stakes.

Anne S said...

Valerie, it certainly is a weird track - it has a very short straight. Some horses love it, eg Sunline, but others can't handle it at all.

It is the nearest track to where I live and I always make a point of going to the Manikato Stakes meeting there every year.

Here are some links to my day at the races posts with photos.
2008 Meeting

2007 Meeting

2006 Meeting

This year I saw Maldivian racing in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, which is a sort of mini Cox Plate, but despite being favourite, he failed to to get a place.

This year's Cox Plate was very odd as Cox Plates go. Maldivian was able to dictate terms at the front from the start, and in the lead at the turn, together with the short straight, nothing was able to catch him.

Princess Coup's run was very disappointing, but I blame the jockey's judgement there, but Samantha Miss certainly wasn't disgraced.

I know next to nothing about racing in the USA. I look forward to reading your blog and getting an education.