The WFA championship of the world, the Cox Plate (2040m), is just around the corner, 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.
Who ran last weekend?
Puissance De Lune ran in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on Saturday at Flemington and was very good I thought in running fourth, but he is now in the spelling paddock thanks to the firm tracks and the likelihood of firm tracks for the remainder of the Spring.
Silent Achiever also ran in the Turnbull and it was D-Day for her, but again she failed. Largely due to the fact she also felt the firm track and Olly was too negative on her. Based on what I saw on the weekend, she won’t be winning the Cox Plate nor a Caulfield Cup, so her spring plans are really up in the air.
Happy Trails was another that went around in the Turnbull and Michael Rodd probably won’t like to see the replay either given it wasn’t one of his best. Very negative ride from the perfect draw and was running into dead ends throughout in the straight. I wouldn’t sack him for the Cox Plate. He is still on track, just forget he went around on the weekend. He is nominated for the Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
Who is running this weekend?
Dissident has been fabulous this Spring, winning the Memsie before going on to win the Makyve Diva. Peter Moody then decided to drop the horse back to 1400m of the Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) where the horse was simply outstanding in defeat, running second to Trust In A Gust, beaten a nose, despite giving the winner 6kg in weight. He goes to the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) this Saturday and that will determine whether he is a serious Cox Plate contender or not.
The jury was out on Almalad after his opening two runs this time in, but he showed that he is going to be hard to beat in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and then the Cox Plate with a dominant Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) triumph, sitting just off the speed before pouncing on the turn and comfortably holding his rivals at bay. He needs to win the Guineas this Saturday to have any realistic chance of making the field, but if he wins the race, he’ll almost certainly get a spot in the field and with only 49.5kg, he’ll take some beating.
The key international runner for the Cox Plate is Dan Excel, but a throat niggle has forced the John Moore camp to be playing catch up with the horse in preparation for the race. He was due to run in the Sir Rupert Clarke, but was withdrawn, and is now battling to get fit. He will go around in the Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m) this weekend but it certainly isn’t an ideal prep. He needs the run before the Cox Plate, but if he performs well, he’ll be in the mix because his two best career outings have been when racing anti-clockwise at Singapore in the International Cup.
Where is the value?
Arabian Gold is one of the best mares in the business and she upstaged arguably the best in Australia last week in the Golden Pendant (140m) at Rosehill when sprinting clear of Catkins to win impressively first up. She is very exciting from a mile up to 2000m, and does have a turn of foot, which is critical for a Cox Plate contender. She will run in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) this Saturday at Caulfield and will be a definite chance.
Royal Descent is an absolute beauty who never runs a bad race, but the problem with her is that she doesn’t like having her photo taken. She was given every chance by Bowman on Saturday in the Epsom Handicap, but just found He’s Your Man a touch too good. In saying that, coming back to Melbourne and stepping up to 2040m will suit her. She is in cracking form without winning, and is worth a dabble at $21.