Sometimes matters are simply taken out of your hands.
That is what the high-profile ownership group of the Williams family found seemingly to their cost earlier this week when their Joseph O’Brien trained Buckhurst was relegated to emergency acceptor status for the Cox Plate … Australia’s weight-for-age classic … after the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) committee used their discretionary powers to hand the final place in the 14-strong capacity field to Master Of Wine.
MVRC chairman Don Casboult confirmed that the race within a race came down to a final call between Master Of Wine and Buckhurst with the committee opting for the former.
Already safely in the field when the committee came down to making that decision was the three-year-old Grandslam who was a late nomination for the big race.
Had that late nomination not been lodged, the committees discretionary vote would not have been needed.
The Lloyd Williams racing team, of course, is always a prominent factor in big races at this time of year during the Melbourne Carnival … notably with regard to the Melbourne Cup itself in which Lloyd Williams has been involved as a winning owner on multiple occasions stretching as far back as 1981 to as recently as 2016 … but the Cox Plate is one trophy that is eluded him which made the Buckhurst disappointment all the more palpable.
But the racing gods like to play their own game of chess, moving pieces around at will and when the Aidan O’Brien trained duo of Armory and Magic Wand failed their mandatory vet test on Thursday … Buckhurst was ready to get back in the game.
The Williams family had to wait for a second vet examination to be completed on those two horses on Friday where it was decided that Armory was fit to race and Magic Wand was not. With Magic Wand’s withdrawal Buckhurst officially became a Cox Plate runner … thus keeping the Williams’ Cox Plate dream alive.
As always in racing, there is a back story behind the back story and, in this case, it is that if the Williams team do strike Cox Plate gold with Buckhurst, they will have to do so on the back of a winning ride by Jamie Kah, who would be making history in her own right as she would then have become the first female rider to win the Cox Plate.