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The Cox Plate…some say it’s the race where legends are made, others say it’s the best two minutes in Australian sport, not just Australian horse racing. It is the race won by the best horse Australia has to offer, and on the odd occasion New Zealand. The honour roll boasts the best of the best we have seen- Pharlap, Tobin Bronze, Octagonal, Sunline, Makybe Diva and So You Think to name a few. Shamus Award, a maiden galloper, led all the way to win the race in 2013. Who will win and put their name into racing folklore this Saturday? An outstanding support card, with a stack of Group races, promises Cox Plate Day to be one of the best for 2014.

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Race One (1:15pm) : Inglis Banner 1000m: Form Guide

Back Me: Hot Smippety (Best Odds: $4.00) was an impressive debut winner at Doomben, jumping brilliantly from the gates and showing good speed to lead all the way, and running good time for the 1050m, rating quite well for the meeting. That winning race experience is such an advantage, as is gate speed, because she will be out of trouble here provided she jumps cleanly. If she does, she will go close to winning.
Big Danger: Fontiion (Best Odds: $2.70) was the pick of the two year old trial winners on Monday at Cranbourne. This Robert Smerdon filly showed good speed to lead all the way in her trial, and did it under no real pressure from Mark Zahra over the 800m trip and ran the second fastest heat of the entire meeting, quicker than the likes of Peron, a Group l performer, Ms Mazetti and Pampelonne to name a few. She looks very smart and should take some beating here.
Roughie: The Barrister (Best Odds: $21.00) wasn’t too bad in his barrier trial fourth at Cranbourne behind Of The Brave, who franked that form at Caulfield with a strong all the way win. He is drawn to get the sit on Fontition, and with Dwayne Dunn riding in super form at the moment, this horse is a sneaky chance at odds.


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Race Two (1:50pm) : City Jeep Handicap 1000m: Form Guide

Back Me: They are going to like next weeks pay with the likes of Rocky King, Let’s Rock’N’Roll, Canali and Minaj all looking to go forward. I am going to look for one to swoop, and I am hoping that one is Henwood (Best Odds: $15.00). He put together a string of solid runs together, including a win at Caulfield over 1400m, then went to the mile here and just failed to run it out when fifth to St Jean, a quality galloper. Back to 1000m is the query, but he races well fresh and an electric tempo will suit, as will Bossy getting back aboard.
Big Danger: Miss Steele (Best Odds: $5.50) was very good first up behind Vain Attraction, then went to the Allinghi Stakes (1100m) last week and didn’t have the best of luck when eighth to The Messina Nymph. She loves the Valley and a hot tempo to explode off. Only query is whether she can find any decent spot from the rails draw given there is speed galore to her outside.
Roughie: Straight Gold (Best Odds: $7.50) had his first run in Australia since coming from Hong Kong in the Apache Cat (1000m) and he caught the eye with a fast finishing second to Angels Beach, making up a stack of ground from the back. Worked on the track earlier in the week with his stablemate, Not Listenin’tome, and appeared to comfortably have his measure. That horse goes around in the Manikato and has Group l form, so that reads well for this and he should get the gun sit.


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Race Three (2:25pm) : Drummond Golf Fillies Classic 1600m: Form Guide

Back Me: Lumosty (Best Odds: $1.80) for me here. Forget she went around in the Thousand Guineas given she missed the start and was forced back to last in a race completely dominated by those up on the speed. The likes of her and Go Indy Go had no winning hope from where they were and the way the race was run. Drops a bit in depth here, and worked well on the track on Tuesday. Hard to beat provided she jumps cleanly.
Big Danger: Tahni Dancer (Best Odds: $4.80) ran out her skin in the Thousand Guineas, and was one of the only fillies to make up significant ground when fifth to Amicus. Her run prior to that came here where she ran second to gutsy filly Eloping, who has won since. No problems with her running the mile and looms as a legitimate threat to Lumosty.
Roughie: Little Hottie (Best Odds: $6.00) was a highly impressive debut winner at Kyneton, then she went to the Edward Manifold and just got held up a touch at a vital stage before getting clear and making up ground behind Fontein Ruby, and the form from that race has stood up big time. Mick Kent is one of the best trainers of up and coming fillies in the country and this filly has a stack of upside.


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Race Four (3:00pm) : Telstra Phoneworlds Stakes 1200m: Form Guide

Back Me: Putting Law (Best Odds: $8.00) on top. He has had three runs for Chris Waller. First up he was excellent in the San Domenico then didn’t handle the wet track in the Run To The Rose. He was then freshened up, went to the trials, trialled brilliantly behind Rubick before disappointing at Randwick behind Boss Lane. Work on the track on Tuesday was pretty sharp, so perhaps a change of scenery can spark this horse back into winning form, because he strikes a winnable race here on his best form.
Big Danger: Galaxy Pegasus (Best Odds: $6.00) comes back to the big lights of Carnival time after getting an easy kill at Kilmore last time out. He failed in the Danehill prior to that after a stunning debut win, so no doubting that the talent is there. It’s just whether or not this has all come around too soon for him. The Kilmore win against the older horses tells me he can measure up to this level now, but nothing higher.
Roughie: Risen From Doubt (Best Odds: $6.00) was a highly touted juvenile and was the early pick for the Golden Slipper after his debut win down the Flemington straight. But a combination of wet tracks and bad luck made sure we didn’t see the best of him in the Autumn. He spelled, trialled well and was backed for a stack when resuming at Morphettville. He ran second thanks to what I would call a horrendous steer and a couple of poor decisions from the hoop. He has class, and he will take some beating.


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Race Five (3:35pm): Racing.com Moonee Valley Cup 2500m: Form Guide

Back Me: This race just looks in the keeping of Opinion (Best Odds: $3.40). All of his runs this time in have been very good, and he proved that he shouldn’t be ruled out for the Melbourne Cup after his slashing second in the Metropolitan (2400m) to Junoob, with some help from an outstanding Tye Angland steer. Worked very well on Tuesday morning behind Royal Descent and the return to a track with some give in it should play right into his hands.
Big Danger: Precedence (Best Odds: $5.50) won this race last year and would just about need to win it again to have a serious chance of making the final 24 for the first Tuesday in November. His run here in the JRA Cup (2040m) was very good behind The Cleaner, and he arguably should have finished closer had it not been for bad luck towards the end. Bossy sticks, drawn well and of course loves the Valley.
Roughie: Le Roi (Best Odds: $7.50) ran a credible third in the Cranbourne Cup (2025m) behind Mourinho after losing balance on the turn in chasing, he picked up late and worked to the line soundly enough, indicating that the 2500m would be ideal. Barrier one, Tommy Berry aboard, winner at the track…ticks plenty of boxes.


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Race Six (4:10pm): Schweppes Crystal Mile 1600m: Form Guide

Back Me: Ripping edition of the Crystal Mile. I am going to put Hooked (Best Odds: $7.50) on top. He won farcically run edition of the Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle, then proved that was no fluke with a slashing third in the Epsom Handicap (1600m) after sitting three and four wide for the entire trip with no cover. Yet to race here, but he is in career best form and maps very well here, getting the drag up behind Havana Rey.

Big Danger: Speediness (Best Odds: $5.00) has been knocking on the door to win a good race, but given his racing pattern, he will often find more bad luck than good luck. He looked the winner of the Toorak 200m out, even 100m out, but Trust In A Gust kicked late and surged clear near the line. WFA suits him better than any other horse here and the aggressive Nash Rawiller takes the ride.
Roughie: Akavoroun (Best Odds: $9.00) was enormous in the Toorak, sitting wide no cover for the trip yet only got beat just over a length. Worked well here on Tuesday morning and provided he gets cover from the barrier, he will go close here, and don’t worry about the gutbuster last time out. He looks to have recovered well from that.


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Race Seven (4:50pm) : Dilmah Exceptional Teas Vase 2040m: Form Guide

Back Me: Atmosphere (Best Odds: $5.00) loomed to win the UCI last time out, but he just couldn’t quite peg back the margin Magicool had, but was actually coming again on the line. He is bred to stay longer than the mother-in-law, and the stable is starting to hit its straps this Spring, so he is definitely a contender here and in the Derby next week, but he’d need to win or run a very good top three to warrant consideration as a serious Derby contender, but I am confident he can.
Big Danger: Moonovermanhattan (Best Odds: $8.50) was very good here in the Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) behind Almalad, then went to the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and just couldn’t get the chance to build up momentum when seventh to Shooting To Win. The Derby is his GF and this will be used to get the cobwebs out, but he handles the track well and will be up near the speed, so he is a definite chance here.
Roughie: I was quite keen on Go Indy Go (Best Odds: $6.50) in the Thousand Guineas (1600m), but a combination of a slow pace and a negative ride made sure she couldn’t win. She is heading towards the Oaks, and has always given the impression that this sort of distance range could be handled, so she goes in as a threat, but I’d want to see her go close to winning if you’re following her for the Oaks.


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Race Eight (5:40pm) : Cox Plate 2040m: Form Guide

Back Me: Sacred Falls (Best Odds: $8.00) is the horse to beat IMO. The two time Doncaster Mile (1600m) winner was fabulous in his opening two runs this Spring, then was back in the winners list with a dominant George Main Stakes (1600m) triumph. He then went to Caulfield for the Caulfield Stakes and I thought he was very good there when fourth to Fawkner after being hooked back to last from the wide gate. Fast run 2040m will be of no issue for him because we saw how well he went in a fast run Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at the end of the Autumn when he beat all bar a future hall of famer in Dundeel. Sticking solid with him.
Big Danger: Fawkner (Best Odds: $4.80) is a deserved favourite for the race after two outstanding runs this time in. First up in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) he ran second to Dissident, beaten a pimple, then was given a freshen up and went to the Caulfield Stakes and was given a beaut steer by Nick Hall to get the job done over Criterion. Lloyd Williams has pretty much won everything in Australian racing, apart from the Cox Plate. He has come very close on many occasions with the likes of Mahogany and Zipping, but this horse looks his best chance to complete the mantlepiece.
Roughie: Happy Trails (Best Odds: $13.00) is the real sleeper in the race IMO. I thought he was outstanding in the Underwood Stakes (2000m), then was completely luckless in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m). Michael Rodd got the flick and Oliver got on board and went into the Caulfield Stakes, where he was very good I thought considering he got badly checked by Fawkner on the home turn and lost all momentum, but he picked up late and was strong through the line. There are a couple of things against him here. One: No seven year old has won the race since the legendary Makybe Diva in 2005 and the last horse to fail in a Cox Plate and come back the following year to win the race was El Segundo in 2007 after being pipped by Fields Of Omagh in 2006. The other factor is that Oliver is having an awful carnival, but expect the champ to turn it around…could well be here.


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Race Nine (6:20pm) : Eliza Park International Stakes 1600m: Form Guide

Back Me: Everything points to Suavito (Best Odds: $3.50) for mine. Stood in the gates when top pick in betting for the Blazer Stakes (1400m), but the punters forgave and launched into her for the Ladies Day Vase (1600m), and while she jumped cleanly this time, she didn’t get any luck at all in the straight on an afternoon where Oliver rode several horrendous races. The champ has had an ordinary carnival, and I am hoping sooner or later he fires. Hoping it starts here.
Big Danger: This could well be the last chance for Gypsy Diamond (Best Odds: $9.00) to prove she can continue racing otherwise the breeding barn is on the agenda. Shinn could not have ridden her any better in the Angst Stakes (1600m) but the mare just simply didn’t finish it off when fifth to Neena Rock. The key here I think is that McDonald is back on, and he had real success with the horse in the Autumn, and as we know, certain horses just run for certain riders. This could be another case. No excuses for her here IMO.
Roughie: Precious Gem (Best Odds: $14.00) charged home late three back to run third to Late Charge, a subsequent Group l performer, before the mare went to Seymour and started odds on, but she didn’t handle the wet track and burned a hole in the punters wallets. She then stepped up to the Ladies Day Vase (1600m) and again charged home late to run sixth to Star Fashion, beaten two lengths after coming from last on the turn. Her racing pattern is terrible, but she is very talented and strikes a thin mares race.


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BEST BET: Race Five Number 7 Opinion

NEXT BEST: Race Three Number 1 Lumosty

VALUE: Race Two Number 4 Henwood


Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):

Leg One: 1, 2, 3, 6, 9

Leg Two: 2, 4, 5, 10, 13

Leg Three: 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14

Leg Four: 1, 2, 4, 6, 10

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