W.S. COX PLATE preview
Australia's best race is here.
The W.S Cox Plate is a wonderful thing.
The cauldron of Moonee Valley. The eliteness of the participants. The best two minutes in racing. It's all there and the 2022 renewal promises to be as good as any in modern memory.
We've seen many of these go to battle in preparation for this very event.
Alligator Blood took the Underwood. I'm Thunderstruck was incredible running him down in the Makybe Diva before that. Then we added Anamoe into the mix in the Might And Power and despite wobbling around the Caulfield bend, he stormed over the top of a brave Zaaki and I'm Thunderstruck.
Now, right here and right now - we see these equine superstars go again. And we add in some internationalisation and all of a sudden, this Cox Plate is on for young and old.
Let's go runner-by-runner and see where we land.
1 ZAAKI (Barrier 1, J Kah, A Neasham)
Has lobbed outside Alligator Blood in two runs, knocking him off once (despite being run over by Anamoe) and being outgunned another time (Underwood Stakes).
He draws to get the rails in run provided he's quick enough early to hold his position.
Should there be any comfortable lead then this eight-year-old could create some history as a veteran winner of the race.
2 I'M THUNDERSTRUCK (Barrier 10, M Zahra, Price/Kent Jr)
He ticked two boxes without winning in the Might And Power. He was able to kick up and race closer to the speed and - more importantly - he ran a strong 10 furlongs.
The barrier is yuck here, though. What do they do? Go forward and risk being wide without cover or go back and risk being too far back chasing quality horses who will not be stopping... painful.
3 ALLIGATOR BLOOD (Barrier 12, T Clark, Waterhouse/Bott)
Pain pain pain. More pain than a blister in a new school shoe.
Will roll forward but could get caught wide and be working triple time to get a position. Based on the Might And Power he has no chance.
4 MR BRIGHTSIDE (Barrier 11, C Williams, Team Hayes)
Speaking of wide gates, Brightside is also caught wide but he seems more content to go back and look for gaps and luck.
Craig Williams is in fine form and produced a beautiful ride from the back to claim a 15m race last weekend. Maybe he can do the same here.
5 MO'UNGA (Barrier 9, N Rawiller, A Neasham)
Fourth in the race last year and queries on whether he's going better or worse. Based on his Underwood run he's right with these but based on almost everything else we've seen he's miles off them.
6 GOLD TRIP (Barrier 7, J Spencer, Maher/Eustace)
Backs up from almost winning the Caulfield Cup in a similar set up to former Maher/Eustace winner, Sir Dragonet.
Was excellent last week but the fact remains, he's won one race from 14 attempts.
7 LAWS OF INDICIES (Barrier 3, J Allen, A Neasham)
A dashing Toorak 2nd placing guaranteed him a place in this great race. I was surprised to see him get in but if he can replicate that Toorak run then he will be a chance at filling a top four position.
8 YOUNG WERTHER (Barrier 2, D Lane, D O'Brien)
Speaking of surprises, seeing this fella get a run was a stunner!
One win, a Geelong maiden way back when. Sure, he's racing well but he did have every possible in the Turnbull and I'd argue he held ground without making much.
9 MAXIMAL (B Melham, J O'Shea)
Skipped last week because of the big wet, could he suffer the same fate here?
Like a few others in this race (unfortunately), his career record reads 1/15 with seven placings.
10 ANAMOE (Barrier 4, J McDonald, J Cummings)
What else can we say?
Three Group 1 runs this prep, three amazing wins.
He could've won this race in the stewards room last year and is back for redemption. He could lob the 1-1 and be in the perfect position to sprint past Zaaki and co. coming to the furlong pole.
11 PROFONDO (Barrier 6, C Schofield, R Litt)
Looked back in business on his fresh run behind Anamoe when wide all the way. A couple of wet runs can be binned but he was only average in Turnbull.
I took half his current quote thinking he'd be the one to challenge Anamoe... think I was way wrong.
12 EL BODEGON (Barrier 8, D Oliver, C Waller)
The lone international in the race, despite now racing in Chris Waller's name.
Comes out of the form race of the year with 1st, 2nd and 4th all going on to win major races since clashing with El Bodegon who was 3rd in that one.
Looks the main danger to Anamoe, especially with a wet Moonee Valley.
Anamoe - deserves his place as close to odds on favourite for the great race.
El Bodegon - the Northern Hemisphere 3YO sets up well... again.
Zaaki - honest on pace veteran who will lead for maybe 2000m.
I'm Thunderstruck - will have too much work to do but will hit the line hard.
MY PLAY ($100 spend)
El Bodegon/Anamoe $50 quinella & El Bodegon $25 each way.
BEST BETS ACROSS THE WEEKEND
Race Six - Number One: CALLSIGN MAV each way ($11)
Race Seven - Number Two: VIRTUOUS CIRCLE ($5.50)
Race Nine - Number Twelve: EL BODEGON each way ($7)
Race Seven - Number One: GOLDEN MILE ($1.80)
Race Eight - Number One: ELLIPTICAL ($4.40)
*FRIDAY* Race Six - Number Thirteen: MISTER ME each way ($11) *Saturday* Race Four - Number Eleven: BAY THIRTEEN (owners tip, $46)
Race Eight - SRM with ELLIPTICAL / WILLIAMSBURG top 4 ($3)