Whobegotyou with trainer Mark Kavanagh posing for photos after winning the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes
It is many years since I last attended a Cox Plate meeting at Moonee Valley, but I used to go regularly in the past and witnessed Octagonal winning in 1995, Saintly in 1996, Dane Ripper in 1997 and, probably the most memorable, Might & Power in 1998. After the 1998 Cox Plate the cost of entry doubled as did the crowds, so I contented myself with watching the race on television after that, much as I would have liked to see Sunline’s two Cox Plate victories in the early 2000s.
This year’s Cox Plate has a better field than last years offering, with a good mix of old and young horses, but no mares or fillies this year.
Whobegotyou is the favourite, but I’m hoping Heart of Dreams can beat him this time. They have each beaten the other twice, so they’re evens at the moment. Of course they may not even feature in the finish, though that would be surprising as I regard them the top chances. There’s the Foolish Pleasure factor to consider in Scenic Shot, then there’s Speed Gifted, the much touted Lee Freedman trained import. Vision And Power can’t be overlooked either, nor 2007 winner, good old El Segundo or Black Piranha who, though he finished out of a place last start, has good claims. Of the two three year olds, everyone is wondering if the Bart Cummings trained So You Think can add to Bart’s already illustrious record or can Manhattan Rain give Gai Waterhouse her first Cox Plate. The last three year old to win was Savabeel in 2004.
Whatever, the Cox Plate is always an interesting competition owing to the peculiarities of the course and the high powered nature of the race.
Besides the Cox Plate, the program also offers some mouth watering competitions, for instance the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes (1200 metres), with top sprinters Apache Cat, Lucky Secret, Mic Mac, Light Fantastic, Ortensia and Danleigh all in the mix.
The Group 2 Aimee Vase, run over the same distance as the Cox Plate (2040 metres), will surely give one some idea of who to back in the Victoria Derby next week. Carrara, runner up in the Guineas, will be running beyond a mile for the first time and faces a big test with competitors such as Viking Legend, Space Craft and filly Miss With Attitude among others.
The Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200 metres) for three year olds sees Avenue competing again. Can she continue her winning ways?
Last week’s Caulfield Cup, as I’m sure everybody knows, was won by Viewed, giving Bart Cummings his 7th Caulfield Cup victory. It was a splendid win and a beautiful ride by Brad Rawiller, who patiently awaited his chance on the inside and, unimpeded, drove Viewed through for a two and a half length win over stable mate Roman Emperor. The International runners were never a threat, despite the pre race hype.
Typhoon Tracy proved unbeatable back against her own sex, easily winning the Tristarc Stakes by a couple of lengths.
My super stable this weekend is represented by Mic Mac, Heart of Dreams and Manhattan Rain. After Black Piranha’s failure in his last race, I substituted him with Daffodil who managed to run fourth in the Cup and is still a good chance in the Melbourne Cup.