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The Cox Plate is still over two months away but already we’ve got confirmation on a couple of runners from overseas who will be looking to bring down the Moonee Valley 2040m empire that Winx runs.

Here at Justhorseracing, we’ve put together a preview of the confirmed set to take their place in the best race Australia has to offer.

Market 💰: View the current Cox Plate odds

Benbatl

Breeding: Dubawi x Nahrain
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Nationality: British
Career Stats: 13: 6-2-1
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1400m/2000m
Career Best Win: Group l Grosser Dallmayr Preis, July 29 2018, Munich, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 10: 6-1-1
Wet Track Stats: 3: 0-1-0
Target Race(s): Cox Plate
Short Summary: Classy animal when right…but classy alongside Winx? No.

Group l Queen Anne Stakes (1600m), June 19 2018, Royal Ascot, Straight Course, Good Surface

On face value, disappointing. Had a reasonable run on speed throughout and gave a mini kick under Soumillon but was just found wanting late as the swoopers both inside and out came to the fore. But overall, you’d have to say the run was disappointing given he was a hard favourite in the market for the race.

Group l Grosser Dallmayr Preis, July 29 2018, Munich, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

Did he beat much? Based on what I’ve seen and read, I’d say no. He was gifted a very soft lead under Oisin Murphy and really after about 600m, the race was all over given the tempo he was setting and he was never going to get run down. But that would have done his confidence the world of good and it showed he can produce the goods on the world stage.

Final Summary: If Winx turns up fit and healthy and normal luck is there, she’ll be too good, simple as that. But this bloke has put together a really good CV and has certainly earned his crack at the race. He’ll be on speed and rolling…he’ll give a sight, much like Gailo Chop and Folkswood did last year. But holding out the great mare is the toughest task in world racing.

Blair House

Breeding: Pivotal x Patroness
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Nationality: British
Career Stats: 14: 4-6-0
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1604m/1800m
Career Best Win: Jebel Hatta, March 10 2018, Meydan, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 11: 3-6-0
Wet Track Stats: 3: 1-0-0
Target Race(s): Cox Plate
Short Summary: Top five chance on his recent deeds at Meydan.

Jebel Hatta (1800m), March 10 2018, Meydan, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

Talk about sweet rides, how about this from James Doyle. Horse looked to be bolting on the fence before getting shuffled back a touch on the turn. He waited, poked his way through and once the horse got clear air, it exploded and dashed to win, beating Benbatl, and that form has been franked big time.

Dubai Turf (1800m), March 31 2018, Meydan, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

I think you just have to put the line through this run. Horse was never really clear of a pocket, race was run at a decent clip and Benbatl had the dream run near the speed and was always in control. But if you watch closely, you’ll see Blair House (Blue Cap), hit the line and run through it quite nicely, so it wasn’t as if he was paddling.

Final Summary: The plan for this horse is to run in the Underwood en route to the Cox Plate. If he and Benbatle turn up with their best form, Benbatl wins more often than not IMO. But this horse, when cuddled, he can show a decent turn of foot. With Winx in the race, very unlikely he’ll win, but he can make the trip worthwhile with a top five finish.

Folkswood

Breeding: Exceed And Excel x Magic Nymph
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Nationality: British
Career Stats: 17: 5-4-4
Min/Max Distance Wins: 1408m/2025m
Career Best Win: Group lll Dubai Milennium Stakes, February 22 2018, Meydan, Good Surface
Dry Track Stats: 15: 4-4-4
Wet Track Stats: 1: 1-0-0
Target Race(s): Cox Plate
Short Summary: Has to be respected when C Appleby is the trainer…but well held last year by the great mare.

Group lll Dubai Milennium Stakes (2000m), February 22 2018, Meydan, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

If he didn’t win, he would have been a near good thing beat. Just got strung up behind a couple of tired runners, with Buick hoping the inside gap would appear, which it did and he burst through to nab the stablemate right on the peg in a pretty slick resumption, his first run since the Emirates at Flemington.

Group l Jebel Hatta (1800m), March 10 2018, Meydan, Anti-Clockwise Direction, Good Surface

To the eye, disappointing effort. Looked to get a reasonable run on speed and was there to pounce but he came under pressure on the turn and from that point on he never looked likely, battling away to run sixth to impressive winner Blair House. That horse went on to finish down the track behind Benbatl in the Dubai Turf.

Final Summary: He showed in the Spring last year that he can measure up in a Cox Plate with a gutsy third behind Winx and Humidor. Probably not going as well as he was last year leading into this years edition of the race, but we know the magic wand Charlie Appleby has and placing again in the Cox Plate wouldn’t surprise.

 
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