The money continues to flow for Highland Reel to give global breeding giant Coolmore successive wins in the Cox Plate.
After as much as $51 was bet about Highland Reel, the Aidan O’Brien-trained galloper is now the $5 favourite over Kermadec and Criterion at $6 following Tuesday’s barrier draw.
Highland Reel will jump from barrier four after Coolmore representative Tom Magnier selected the gate and last year’s winning jockey Ryan Moore expressed a preference for an inside barrier.
“We got barrier four so it’s up to Ryan now,” Magnier said.
Adelaide won the race from barrier 13 last year with Moore content to sit wide on the track.
Like Adelaide, Highland Reel is a son of dual-hemisphere stallion Galileo and like last year’s winner he was successful in the Secretariat Stakes in America in the lead-up to the Cox Plate.
And Magnier said the similarities didn’t end there.
“Adelaide was a great traveller and this horse seems to have travelled well,” Magnier said.
“The Coolmore team at Werribee seem happy.
“I think we’ll need a bit of luck with him on the day but we think we might have a bit of a chance and to be here with a horse that is in with a chance, it’s very exciting.
“It’s what we dream about.”
Highland Reel has an Australian connection being from the Danehill mare Hveger, a sister to Elvstroem and a half-sister to Haradasun while he is also related to Starspangledbanner.
Coolmore will be hoping Highland Reel can improve on Elvstroem’s and Haradasun’s finishing positions in their Cox Plate efforts.
After winning the Caulfield Cup, Elvstroem finished eighth in the 2004 Cox Plate behind Savabeel while Haradasun finished third to El Segundo in 2007.
Magnier said the Coolmore team was looking forward to returning to the unique characteristics of Moonee Valley.
“There is nowhere in the world that has atmosphere like this,” he said.
“It takes a bit of getting used to for the horses but this fella, I think, will take it in his stride.
“Adelaide’s win last year was one of the most impressive things.
“He was a super horse and we were very proud to be a part of it.”