We are a few days out from the running of the 99th edition of the WS Cox Plate.
We’ve had to delay the release of this report to coincide it with the announcement of the final field.
We’ve now got it, it’s listed below.
As mentioned in previous reports, there will be just the 14 starters.
Every horse has its own story to tell and what it took for them to get to the start line.
Whether it was the near death experience of Kings Will Dream after breaking down in last years race, the life after retirement for elder statesman Black Heart Bart, or the four legged tomboy Verry Elleegant who can’t quite get her manners right on raceday despite her obvious talent.
Whatever the outcome, it is sure to be a fantastic day of racing at the Valley this Saturday, with a support card of excellent quality.
How it stacks up
Here is the final field, announced Tuesday 22nd October.
Black Heart Bart – Brad Rawiller
Avilius – Kerrin McEvoy
Kluger – Tommy Berry
Harlem – Dwayne Dunn
Homesman – Ben Melham
Kings Will Dream – Hugh Bowman
Te Akau Shark – Opie Bosson
Danceteria – Jamie Spencer
Lys Gracieux – Damien Lane
Magic Wand – Ryan Moore
Cape Of Good Hope – Mark Zahra
Mystic Journey – Anthony Darmanin
Verry Elleegant – James McDonald
Castelvecchio – Craig Williams
Humidor – Dwayne Dunn
Mr Quickie – Glen Boss
Gailo Chop – Damien Oliver
Dream Castle – Pat Cosgrave
How good are the Japanese?
After Mer De Glacé put the Caulfield Cup field to the sword last weekend, it has ironically put fellow Japanese mare Lys Gracieux into favouritism, the money will be pouring in.
Jockey Damien Lane is on a hot streak at the moment, and no one would be surprised if the Takarazuka Kinen winner adds to her trophy cabinet this weekend, along with the bonus prize money that goes with it.
Avilius – under Vets microscope
This week, Avilius needed to trial in front of Vets and Stewards after traces of blood were detected from his last run.
Thankfully he passed the inspection test and takes his place this Saturday.
Te Akau Dreaming
The word filtered through the grapevine that Kiwi galloper Te Akau Shark would take his place in the final 14, and that duly happened, thanks to the MVRC’s discretionary powers, because TAS was the least qualified of the remaining horses.
Top New Zealand hoop Opie Bosson, a jockey with 67 Group 1’s to his credit will cross the ditch and take the ride, with recent pilot James McDonald opting to ride Verry Elleegant instead.
However TAS drew the outside barrier making his task a tough one, given his racing pattern.
The MVRC has allocated a spot to 3 year old Castelvecchio.
Craig Williams will ride the Dundeel colt at a feather weight of 49.5 kgs.
Despite a good barrier draw, Castelvecchio is not the fastest of starters, and will have to be swooping from the back of the field to be a chance.
Let’s see if he can go a few spots better than his old man (It’s A) Dundeel who ran unplaced in the 2013 edition which was won by the runaway leader Shamus Award.
Luck of the Irish?
Well there was none of the four leaf clover to help the Irish rugby team last weekend, trounced by the New Zealand All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup.
Continuing the Irish pain, top jockey Ryan Moore came to Australia to ride Ten Sovereigns in the Everest last weekend, the Irish sprinter finishing last!
This weekend, Moore rides the fourth of the international visitors in Magic Wand, the Coolmore/Aidan O’Brien galloper from Ireland.
Certainly not without a chance.
A bit of rain might help, but the weather forecast is looking fine and clear.
All of the internationals you’ll have to take on face value and reputation, because none of them have been able to get a race under their belts since arriving in Australia.
Some say that’s a bad thing, the Japanese will say otherwise.
The four emergencies are: Humidor, Mr Quickie, Gailo Chop, and Godolphin runner Dream Castle.
Some are saying Humidor was unlucky not to make the final field given his performances in past years.
However, he is the first emergency, so could yet make the cut depending what happens between now and Friday.
Cox Plate – latest market
Lys Gracieux ($3.70) is now the outright favourite, followed by Mystic Journey ($7.50) and Castelvecchio ($8.00) on the next line of betting, with Cape Of Good Hope ($11.00), Avilius ($13.00) and Magic Wand ($14.00) tucked in behind,with just a few days out.
That’s all for this weeks WS Cox Plate Watch Report. We’ve nearly reached our target, enjoy the race this weekend.