Alas, despite Melbourne’s extended lockdown finishing today, nothing really goes back to normal, and that includes attending my favourite race meeting.
Yes, the Cox Plate is the feature race at Moonee Valley tomorrow and I’d love to be there to witness Zaaki and Verry Elleegant fighting out the finish, if indeed that scenario plays out.
Whatever the result, it is a Must See race – the small field of nine contenders being most interesting with a number of winning chances outside the two obvious top picks.
Zaaki will start as favourite no doubt, and is probably the one to beat, this time regaining the services of James MacDonald as his jockey, after his shock loss in the Caulfield Stakes, where he was ridden by Craig Williams.
The Caulfield Stakes (now renamed the Might and Power) was won by wonderful New Zealand mare, Probabeel who is also one of the field in the Cox Plate and if the track stays dry would feature in the finish. However, if the expected rain arrives, and the track is downgraded to slow, that more than likely stymies her chances as she is less effective in soft conditions.
Heavy/slow tracks really play into Verry Elleegant’s favour as she thrives in such conditions.
Mo’unga who beat Verry Elleegant in the Winx Stakes surely is worth consideration being ridden by Hugh Bowman, experienced in the vagaries of the Moonee Valley racecourse after riding Winx to her four victories and Mugatoo in the All Star Mile earlier this year.
There are two three year old colts in the field – Caulfield Guineas quinella Anamoe and Captivant – both light weight chances, and two International contenders in Irish horse State of Rest and well credentialed New Zealander Callsign Mav.
So who will win Group 1 Glory this weekend? I’m leaning towards Zaaki, though would love it if Verry Elleegant or Probabeel wins.
What a disappointing Cox Plate it was this year.
Zaaki was scratched early in the day and favouritism was shared between Verry Elleegant and Anamoe.
Irish horse State of Rest ended up the winner, fighting out a controversial finish with star three year old Anamoe and surviving a protest. Verry Elleegant tried to her best to catch the leaders and ran third. Mo’unga ran fourth and Probabeel finished fifth.