The start of the 2012 Cox Plate. Image courtesy of Moonee Valley Racing Club/mvrc.net.au
1. Green Moon
– The 2012 Melbourne Cup winner started as favourite in this race twelve months ago but could finish only seventh. Worked home strongly in his only two runs this prep but hasn’t run for a month after missing the Caulfield Stakes with an elevated temperature.
2. Happy Trails
– Produced a career best performance to claim the Group One Turnbull Stakes at Flemington over this trip last time out, when several of these finished behind him. Is drawn to get a good run from barrier two and is a definite winning chance at good odds.
– Last year’s Melbourne cup runner-up hasn’t run a bad race in five Australian starts and looks ideally placed over 2000m at this stage of his preparation after rocketing home from last to finish just half a length behind Happy Trails in the Turnbull. Won at this track last month and the wide draw is of little concern given he gets back in his races anyway.
– Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller’s sole runner in the race, Foreteller is one of the most underrated gallopers in the country. Claimed the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington last month after coming from the rear of the field but won’t find the tight turning track at Moonee Valley as much to his liking.
5. Side Glance
– Owned by the same connections of popular visitor Dunaden, Side Glance finished third in a Group One contest at Arlington at his most recent start and was fourth (beaten seven lengths) in the Dubai World Cup earlier in the year. Has just one win from his past fourteen starts and will have to settle for a support role once again.
– Won the Metropolitan Handicap last time out but that was over an additional 400m and under handicap conditions. Will have improved for that hit out but doesn’t look well suited under the conditions of this race.
7. Rekindled Interest
– Was an unlucky third in this event two years ago but had issues going into the race twelve months ago when last. Was only fair in the Epsom last time out but runs his best races at Moonee Valley and has some chance of upsetting his more fancied rivals.
8. Puissance De Lune
– Will be without suspended rider Glen Boss, but has been trained to peak for this race and the Melbourne Cup and hasn’t run bad race in four starts this preparation. Will be fit enough to be ridden closer to the speed and will benefit from any give in the track from forecast rain.
9. Masked Marvel
– Won the St Leger at Doncaster two years ago before a series of below par performances in the UK prior to arriving in Australia. Ran well over this trip at his two most recent starts and could be fit enough now to go forward from a good gate in a race that appears to lack an obvious leader. Not hopeless.
10. Mull Of Killough
– The eight year-old has only contested two Group One events to date and finished down the field in the Arlington Millions when three lengths behind Side Glance. Is drawn to get a good run but probably lacks the class to win.
11. It’s A Dundeel
– Assumed favouritism for this contest following the withdrawal of Atlantic Jewel and it’s not hard to see why. Has won nine of fourteen career starts with five victories at the top level, including a narrow success over Atlantic Jewel in the Underwood Stakes last month. Missed a run two weeks ago due to a foot injury but is the top pick on form.
12. Super Cool
– Won the Australian Cup against older horses earlier in the year but hasn’t reproduced that same level of form this campaign. Has to contend with a wide draw but this is his ideal trip and has beaten It’s A Dundeel home on all three occasions they have met.
13. Atlantic Jewel
14. Long John
– Claimed the Caulfield Guineas thanks to a perfect ride from Kerrin McEvoy and he will need to produce something similar from an awkward gate here. Only one of the past 15 Guineas winners to contest the Cox Plate has finished in the top three (All Too Hard 2012).
15. Shamus Award
– Finished second in the Caulfield Guineas last time out but is still a maiden after nine starts. Is the likely leader in the race from barrier three with just 49.5kg on his back but surely a maiden can’t win Australia’s greatest WFA race?
Selections: It’s A Dundeel, Puissance De Lune, Fiorente, Happy Trails
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