Leviathan owners, Nick and Lloyd Williams are furious following the barrier draw for this weekend’s feature, the $5million Gr 1 Cox Plate at The Valley.
And with very, very good reason.
Their import, BUCKHURST (Australia-Artful) has been overlooked for a start in the WFA contest.
He is first reserve.
And according to Nick Williams, quoted in the Herald-Sun today, this isn’t fair.
“How? “I am in shock but it’s their race and they can do with it what they like. I do find it extraordinary to be honest, because I think there are a couple of horses that should be well behind Buckhurst,” said Williams.
And he has a case.
Both Master Of Wine and Buckhurst ran in last weekend’s Gr 1 Caulfield Cup. Buckhurst, after a torrid run beat Master Of Wine home comfortably and carried more weight than him.
That’s point one.
The second point concerns the 3YO Grandslam.
If this race is the best WFA race in the world, therefore attracting the best of the best, how does Grandslam, winner of just one race, a lowly BM 66 handicap get a spot in front of Buckhurst? Yes, Grandslam was Gr 1 placed last start – in a 3YO Gr1 and was a $61 chance.
And finally third point – we could list more, but the 3rd point surrounds Sir Dragonet.
Buckhurst has beaten him this year in the 2012m Alleged Stakes at Gr 3 level in Ireland. AND….Buckhurst carried more weight in doing so.
Sir Dragonet has been placed at Gr 1 level since.
The Williams clan has never won a Cox Plate. They were 2nd with Mahogany behind Octagonal…the closest they have come.
“It’s interesting they put in some horses that are rated miles lower than him but so be it,” said Williams when calming down.
In response, MVRC Chairman, Don Casboult said it came down to two horses left: Buckhurst and Master Of Wine.
Again, quoting from an article in the Herald-Sun: “On a personal level I love to see a three year old in the race, it is a bit of a wildcard they run really well generally,” Casboult said.
“We had a maiden three year old (Shamus Award) win our great race and he went on to be a great sire and last year with Castelvecchio it took a very good horse to run him down.
“Sir Dragonet’s form – particularly behind Magical – was superior.
“Buckhurst has won at Group 3 level, he hasn’t won at Group 2 or Group 1.
“There was significant debate about Master Of Wine and Buckhurst.
“We felt Master Of Wine’s performances at Group 1 level were superior.”
For the record, Buckhurst has raced Sir Dragonet three times, has beaten him home twice and both occasions carried more weight.
Anything can happen between now and race day, but should the invader miss out, he will next start in the Gr 1 McKinnon Stakes at Flemington on 31 October.