The horse that gave Lloyd Williams his first Caulfield Cup remains a solid favourite to break the prominent owner’s Cox Plate hoodoo.
Fawkner has drawn perfectly in barrier four for Saturday’s $3 million weight-for-age feature at Moonee Valley to confirm his position as the horse to beat.
Williams had never won a Caulfield Cup until last year when Fawkner powered to victory.
After his 2013 Melbourne Cup sixth, attention shifted to this year’s Cox Plate which has remained the target for 12 months.
“He hasn’t put a foot out of place,” Williams’ son and part-owner, Nick Williams, said.
“The horse is in perfect order.
“He’s obviously the favourite for the race and we wouldn’t swap him for anything.
“But the reality is that this is the best race in Australia and it takes some winning, as we know very well having tried many times and having never been able to pull it off.”
Fawkner is the $4.20 favourite in the field of 14 with multiple Group One winner Sacred Falls (barrier nine) at $6 and Irish horse Adelaide (gate 13) at $6.50.
Fawkner goes into Saturday’s 2040m showpiece in top form after his second-up win in the Group One Caulfield Stakes.
There were 16 horses paid up for on Tuesday morning before the MVRC committee decided to omit Mourinho and Chivalry, with three-year-olds Sweynesse and Wandjina given the final two spots in a capacity field.
Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller confirmed three starters after trackwork on Tuesday with Foreteller earning his place alongside stablemates Sacred Falls and Royal Descent.
Tommy Berry picked up the ride on Foreteller who was fourth in the race last year.
Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man also worked at the Valley before Waller decided he would be kept for the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.
Popular Tasmanian frontrunner The Cleaner will have to cross from the outside barrier while 2013 runner-up Happy Trails has barrier two, the same gate he started from a year ago.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Adelaide is one of three overseas-trained horses in the field along with Side Glance and Guest Of Honour.
Adelaide rounded out his preparation with a gallop at Werribee on Tuesday.
Australian Derby winner Criterion got his first look at Moonee Valley at the trackwork session with James McDonald aboard.
McDonald replaces the suspended Hugh Bowman.