Friday, October 22, 2021

Group 1 Glory –The Cox Plate 2021

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Winx on her way to winning her Fourth Cox Plate in 2018

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.

Friday, October 01, 2021

If Wishes Were Horses

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Winx after winning the 2017 Turnbull Stakes

It now appears that due to the continued infestation of the Delta variant of Covid 19, public attendance at this year’s Spring Racing Carnival will not be permitted.  This is disappointing news, but I can hope for a normal Autumn carnival next year.

I’m particularly aggrieved  at not being able to attend the Cox Plate. I did purchase an early bird ticket to the Cox Plate in the hope that by the time it was run in late October that Covid  would not be still an issue, but I received a phone call from Moonee Valley Racing Club the other day advising that that public attendance was not allowed and that they will refund my outlay on the ticket.

If I could have attended next Saturday’s Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington I would have been somewhat mollified at missing the Cox Plate, as the Turnbull Stakes features several horses that I would have liked to see in the flesh.

It looks a great race with star mare Verry Elleegant, whom I have not seen in action since her three year old days, up against potential new star of the turf and current favourite for the Melbourne Cup  Incentivise and 2020 Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet. Verry Elleegant won the Turnbull Stakes last year, and will be out to emulate the great Winx who won the race in consecutive years in 2017 and 2018. She has to beat Incentivise who won the Makybe Diva Stakes and six consecutive races in Queensland prior to that.

I also would have liked to see triple Derby winner Explosive Jack and Golden Eagle winner Colette  who I’ve not seen in action before.

On the up side of lockdown at least the distance one is permitted to travel has been extended to 15 kilometres, so I could go to the Victoria Market yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve travelled on public transport since early August.

I’ve almost forgotten what normal is after nearly two years in lockdown. Who knows what the new normal, when everyone’s vaccinated and borders open, will be like. It’ll be different from the old normal I suspect.

My current killing time reading is the wonderful Gods, Graves, and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology by C W Ceram which I have read a couple of times before and reviewed on this blog back in  2009. For light relief, on my Kindle, I’m reading Domestic Bliss and Other Disasters by Jane Ions, a well written witty contemporary novel. It’s been shortlisted for the 2021 Comedy Women in Print Prize.

As for computer gaming, Monkey Island is still keeping me amused at present.

And alas Bingo remains missing, though never far from our thoughts.