Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement will be spelled, leaving Chris Waller with three confirmed Cox Plate runners.
Waller said on Wednesday Press Statement would not join stablemates Kermadec, Winx and Preferment in the weight-for-age championship at Moonee Valley on Saturday week.
Instead, the valuable colt would be given time off to prepare for the autumn as a forerunner to a possible international campaign.
“In only six months since his debut he has captured multiple Group One wins … and we feel he has justified his position as one of the best colts in the country,” Waller said.
Press Statement had firmed in Cox Plate markets since his Stan Fox Stakes win last month and he tightened even further after dominating the Guineas from the front at Caulfield on Saturday.
Waller has finalised his Cox Plate jockeys with Glen Boss reuniting with Kermadec but the trainer has not decided which horse Hugh Bowman or Blake Shinn will ride.
Bowman is the last-start winning rider for both Winx (Epsom Handicap) and Preferment (Turnbull Stakes) and he returns from suspension in time to ride at the Cox Plate meeting.
Kermadec missed a place in his first Melbourne outing for the spring but the Doncaster Mile winner still shares Cox Plate favouritism with Criterion at $5.
Winx is pressing closely at $5.50 and Preferment holds down the fifth line of betting at $10.
Waller is still weighing up a Victoria Derby start for the stable’s Spring Champion Stakes winner Vanbrugh.
“It is our intention to make a decision in consultation with the owners over the coming days,” Waller said.
Vanbrugh is the $5.50 second favourite behind Tarzino to win the Victoria Derby after overcoming a mid-race scare to win the Spring Champion Stakes.
Considered more of a sprinter-miler, Vanbrugh stretched his speed to a middle distance with minimum effort to claim his first Group One victory last Saturday.