With all the conflict going on between the interstate rivals, we must remember that there is a stack of horse racing going on that will impact on the big races during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
None more so than the W.S Cox Plate.
At the time of writing, we have the five day Royal Ascot meeting going on, with some of the Cox Plate invitees (refer our last report) lining up in some of the feature races.
Plus of course, the Takarazuka Kinen is run this weekend up in Tokyo, and will feature only one Japanese invitee on the MVRC wishlist that being Kiseki.
Over in England, Prince of Wales’s Stakes
Overnight from Royal Ascot, it was day two of their prestigious week of racing.
If you are a true fan of horse racing, then this annual event must be on your bucket list of things to do and places to go.
The big race of the day was the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes run over 2000m, featuring gun galloper Crystal Ocean, the Irish filly Magical, the well travelled French galloper Waldgeist, Japanese mare Deirdre and Cox Plate invitee Zabeel Prince.
On what was a very wet day and softish track conditions, the 5 year old Crystal Ocean (Frankie Dettori) prevailed in a tough grind to the finish over the plucky Aidan O’Brien trained filly Magical (Ryan Moore) with Waldgeist (Pierre-Charles Boudot) three lengths back in third.
Both Crystal Ocean and Magical are Cox Plate invitees as well, so it was good to see three of them in the same race, giving long range forecasters down in this part of the world an idea as to their capabilities and prospects, though the track conditions on the day probably was more of a hindrance than a help.
With Crystal Ocean winning, he now has an automatic entry into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, run this year at Santa Anita on the weekend of Nov 1-2, which makes a Cox Plate start unlikely.
The USA probably looks like the destination of the horse if trainer Sir Michael Stoute follows through, after missing out on a start last year with him after a training setback.
Second placed Magical is also likely to head there again, after finishing runner up to Enable in last years race.
Updates on the local front
The latest news from Tasmanian trainer Adam Trinder is that his star filly Mystic Journey is back in work, and will have her next two starts spaced out over a month.
These two races will be the Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 27, then the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) also at Caulfield on August 31st.
Trinder says that these two races will give him a guide as he looks to plot a course toward the Cox Plate which is Plan A, but also acknowledges the Golden Eagle up in Sydney over a shorter distance (1500m) could be Plan B.
At the moment, Mystic Journey is an early favourite for the Cox Plate some four months out.
Te Akau Shark is the Kiwi who was prominent in the betting for the All Star Mile and Doncaster Mile before pulling up sore and having to be withdrawn from all racing.
As a rising four year old, he will have options in the Spring, but in the short-term, trainer Paul Richards will bring him back into work and aim to run him in some lead up races in New Zealand before embarking on a trip across the Tasman.
Both the Cox Plate and the Golden Eagle remain long term targets for the chestnut son of Rip Van Winkle, depending on form and fitness.
Hihh profile Perth owner Bob Peters has come out this week and declared that his star filly Arcadia Queen will not chase a Cox Plate start.
Instead, she has been given a slot in The Everest (1200m).
Now trained by Chris Waller in Sydney, and a Group 1 winner over 1800m in the Kingston Town Stakes in Perth last December, it seems a strange decision to revert her back to a sprint distance where she has raced only once in juvenile company.
My guess is: money talks, all 14 million dollars worth, something Bob Peters would have considered many months ago.
If I was a betting man, I’d put money on it that the track conditions on the day will be a heavy 9 and that the result will be a lottery.
Horse profile of the week
This week, we throw the spotlight on promising English trained galloper Ghaiyyath who has a nomination invite for the Cox Plate but is also in the Melbourne Cup reckoning as well.
Ghaiyyath is a lightly raced Irish bred four year old, owned by the Godolphin operation and trained by Charlie Appleby out of his Newmarket stables.
He is a son of Irish sire Dubawi.
His latest two races have been in France, running third to the previously mentioned Waldgeist in the Group 1 Prix d’Ganay back on April 28th.
Prior to that he won the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt (April 7th) in authorative fashion, reminding me of Yucatan‘s win at Caulfield last year.
Ghaiyyath – Prix d’Harcourt, Longchamps, Paris
Judging by that video, it appears Ghaiyyath runs well on the speed and has great turn of foot and stamina for a long sustained run.
He could be an ideal galloper for the roomy expanses of Flemington, much like Appleby’s other staying star Cross Counter.
At this early stage, he’s only been to the races six times but has never been out of a place.
As we know, they train horses very differently up in the UK, Europe and Japan.
SportsBet has Ghaiyyath at $17 for the Cox Plate (should Godolphin accept the invite) and $26 for the Melbourne Cup.
That’s all for this weeks W.S. Cox Plate Watch Report. Keep checking in with KRUZEY for more, as we count down to the last weekend in October 2019.