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The WFA championship of the world, the Cox Plate (2040m), will be run and won next Saturday at Moonee Valley, and Justhorseracing is once again giving you the in-depth look at the key runners leading into the big race and where your money should be going.

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Who ran last weekend?

A host of them ran last weekend in the Caulfield Stakes, so we will look at what we thought were the three key runners from that race that will head to the Valley next week. We will start off with the winner, Fawkner, who was outstanding in his victory, aided by a brilliant ride from Nick Hall. The horse had the charmed run behind the speed, then peeled out on the turn, sprinted well and then held off Criterion to win by a neck. Fawkner is the one to beat in the Cox Plate on current form.

Sacred Falls really had no chance in the race from the wide barrier and pretty much used the race as a barrier trial, but gee he was very good through the line late for fourth and Chris Waller has him ticking over beautifully for the big one. All he needs is an inside gate to get a strong 2040m and he will go very close to winning.

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The horse I’ll mention from the race was Happy Trails. I thought he was very good in the race given he got absolutely flattened by the winner on the home turn and lost all momentum, but his effort to pick up and come again for fifth was a real eye catcher for mine and is certainly right in the mix for the Cox Plate.

Where is the value?

I think the $31 on offer for Almalad is a touch of overs despite his ordinary run last week in the Guineas. In fairness to him, he did come from a wide gate and worked up the hill, and we know that’s the recipe for failure, especially in the Guineas ie Pierro in 2012. He will tumble down to 49.5kg for the race and will be up on a hot speed with the weight pull. Would need to improve to win, but maybe at $8 the place he is worth an each-way ticket.

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The recent pattern of racing at the Valley suggests that the leaders will be advantaged, and if that is indeed the case, then The Cleaner does come into contention. He was brave when winning the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at the track to secure a start, then went to the JRA Cup (2040m) and was again outstanding on the speed when winning narrowly. Will he win? I doubt it, but he will make sure it’s a fair dinkum contest.

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