The dearth of genuine weight-for-age horses this season has given trainer Mark Kavanagh confidence that stable star Whobegotyou can win his third Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes on Saturday and maybe first Cox Plate later this spring.
Whobegotyou is $1.50 favourite for the Group Two Dato Tan Chin Nam (1600m) and $7 top pick for the $3 million Cox Plate at the Valley on October 22.
“It’s my observation that some years the weight-for-age horses are better than other years,” Kavanagh said.
“Some years we have horses such as So You Think, Sunline or Octagonal.
“Fields Of Omagh (won) two Cox Plates and his form in between them was indifferent.
“If you can get these older horses right and happy on the day they’ll perform for you.”
Kavanagh made it clear he was glad So You Think, an eight-time Group One winner in three different countries and now with Aiden O’Brien in Ireland, won’t be attempting his third consecutive Cox Plate this year.
“It’s pretty obvious that So You Think is the benchmark horse of the world, not just at Moonee Valley, and while Australian racing might be missing his presence the other trainers and owners are pretty happy about it,” the Flemington trainer said.
Whobegotyou is unbeaten in three 1600m starts at his favourite course, his only defeats in seven starts at Moonee Valley being sixth as favourite in the 2009 Cox Plate and third in last year’s edition.
Kavanagh is planning a light path to the big race with the six-year-old who won the PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) first-up at Caulfield four weeks back.
He admitted that it was some concern that the Lawrence placegetters Lights Of Heaven and Prince Obama had since been unplaced to Littorio in last Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
“He’s going just as well as ever although I would say there is certainly a cloud over the form from the Lawrence,” Kavanagh said.
“Saturday’s field has got some promising horses in it, but at this stage the weight-for-age horses are not as good as what we’ve seen in the past couple of years.
“The $1.50 is a bit short but he does have a good record at Moonee Valley.
“He likes the camber at the Valley and it’s the soft track with the StrathAyr (surface).
“There are not a lot of races around in the spring for him. The Cox Plate suits because of his excellent Moonee Valley record and he’s a winner at the Cox Plate distance (2040m) there.
“The only problem is he’s been beaten in two Cox Plates.
Whobegotyou went into the Cox Plate at the sixth start of his campaign in 2009 and at his fourth run in last year, and Kavanagh said he would go in again at his fourth outing this year.
Kavanagh said he had to place Whobegotyou carefully as he did have some “maintenance issues” and therefore he spaces his races and keeps him off hard tracks.
Rekindled Interest has firmed from $8 to $7.50 with Linton at $11, Red Colossus at $13 and Alcopop next best at $14.