2015 Cox Plate Previews & Tips

The following is a survey of previews and betting tips for the 2015 Cox Plate (Race 9 at 5:40 PM) at Moonee Valley this Saturday, the 24th of October.

Click here to compare bookmaker odds for the 2015 Cox Plate.

The Betfair Insider (view full article)

Profiling the race we learn the following:
4 of past 5 winners 4yo’s ( 3 x Horses & 1 x Mare)
4 of past 5 winners have been 4th or 5th up
3 of past 5 winner have drawn inside barrier 9
4 of past 5 winners have started over 2000m+ in their lead up run
5 of past 5 winners have finished no further back than 3rd in their lead up run

Criterion – Profiles well for the race as last start winner of the G1 Caulfield Stakes home his last 400 22.24 200 11.28. He won the Caulfield Stakes off a 7 week break after a slightly disappointing international campaign, beaten 5.6 lengths in the G1 Juddmonte International to Arabian Queen & Golden Horn (2015 Arc winner). In last year’s Cox Plate he half missed the start, but travelled nicely in the run, he loomed strongly to win but hit a big flat spot between the 400-200m. I’m not convinced he’s a Moonee Valley horse and his tendency to lay in the Melbourne way of going is enough for me to be against him.

Fawkner – Huge run in the 2014 Cox Plate when slipping at the gates. Great win 1st up in the G1 Makybe Diva 1600m, then hit a flat spot 2nd up in the G1 Underwood 1800m when beaten 0.1 lengths to Mourinho. Had his colours well and truly lowered in the G1 Caulfield Stakes beaten 6.1 lengths to Criterion. His last two performances were not ‘Fawkner like’ and signal to me that he could be past his best. From an awkward draw I’m not sure where he’ll end up in the run and he could only be backed on sentiment which is a quick way of going broke.

Hartnell – Has been kept fresh for this and only had 2 lead up runs coming into the race. His first up performance was good beaten only 2.9 lengths in the G2 Chelmsford 1600m to Royal Descent. A month later beaten only 1.35 lengths in the G1 Turnbull Stakes at 2000m, where he clocked 3 of the fastest 200m splits of the race. He was ridden well back off his wide draw (against his normal pattern) that start and with barrier 3 here he’ll sit a few pairs back on the fence tracking Highland Reel into the race. He’s the forgotten horse of the race and looks a big overlay at $21 in early markets.

Happy Trails – Loomed up to win the Caulfield Stakes last start to be run down in the last 100m by Criterion. That form is good enough to make him a knockout chance here but from barrier 13 Mark Zahra will be forced to get back and ride for luck.

The Cleaner – Leader. Confident the horse is better this time in but race shape looks against him with international presence. Expecting Callow to slow the tempo between the 1400m-1000m mark then try and run them into the ground. Not sure it’s warranted but he’ll be the hunted which narrows his chances down dramatically.

Arod – Commands respect after his last start 2nd to Solow in the G1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. That’s arguably the best mile form in the world. He’s yet to win at 2000m, his best performance over this distance 2nd to The Grey Gatsby in May of 2014 in the G2 Dante Stakes at York (2112m) beaten only 0.8 lengths. Since then he failed in the G1 Juddmonte over 2092m in August of 2014. He’s yet to be tested beyond 1800m in 2015 which is a big concern. Another on pace runner who’s likely to be found wanting late.

Gailo Chop – Front runner. Beaten only 1.5 lengths to Solow over 1838m in the G1 Prix D’Ispahan at Longchamp three starts back on a good surface. Followed up beaten 5.5 lengths in the G1 Prince Of Wales to Free Eagle which is OK for this (Criterion beaten 3.75 lengths). He’s a genuine wet tracker and won his final lead up to the Cox Plate by 4 lengths on a heavy track in a G3 at Maison in France. He won’t get a soft-heavy track and now finds himself toe-to-toe with The Cleaner. In a year billed as medium-high pressure race, I’m against him.

Kermadec – Profiles the strong for the race based on recent history and can forgive his Caulfield Stakes 4th beaten only 1.35 lengths to Criterion. Glen Boss had minimal intent to put the horse in a winning position last start and expect him to bounce of that performance. He looked considerably fitter in his Tuesday gallop at the valley and if he can get cover from a wide alley can win. I couldn’t back him early at $7.50-8.00, expecting him to reach $10 but firm late in betting.

Preferment – Victoria Derby winner as a 3yo and flying this time in. Profiles well for the race 4th up as a 4yo through the Turnbull stakes proving his class. I expect him to drop well back and come with a sweeping run late and is likely to finish in the placings at best. Of the three Waller trained runners looked to handle The Valley the poorest, albeit OK. He’ll grow another leg at Flemington on Cup day and that’s where I’d prefer to back him. Likely to drift from $13 in early markets.

Highland Reel – World Class international galloper with rock solid form, most recently beaten only 3.8 lengths to (eventual G1 Arc winner) Golden Horn in the G1 Irish Champion over 2012m. The start prior he bolted in the G1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington USA, the same race won by 2014 Cox Plate winner Adelaide. He’s proven on firm or soft and has drawn barrier 4 box seating in behind the cleaner. Ryan Moore takes the ride, but suspect he drifts from $5 in early markets.

Winx – Last start winner of G1 Epsom Handicap over 1600m. She didn’t have the clearest running at the top of the straight and still produced blistering late sectionals, her last 400 22.23 200 11.33. Looking back at her ATC Oaks performance (2nd), I’m confident she can run a strong 2040m at G1 level. They went 10+ lengths above the benchmark for the first 600m in the ATC Oaks and they finished the race off near that same level. ATC winner Gust Of Wind was gallant in the Caulfield Cup 4th beaten only 3.75 lengths albeit carrying 51kgs under handicap conditions. Chris Waller has kept Winx fresh with her runs spaced, her final two gallops at The Valley have been nothing short of exceptional. Her inside draw is an advantage with Highland Reel & Hartnell taking her into the race. I’m confident she’s taken the next step this preparation and will win or run top 3.

Betting Activity

BACK – WIN – Winx – I’ve rated her equal favourite with Highland Reel at $5.50.

BACK – WIN – Hartnell – I’ve rated him $11. Keen to take $17-$21 in early markets.

Bruce Clark from Sportsbet

My clear top pick is a local – Winx. I know the Epsom form is shabby in the Cox Plate. Well, worse than that. You can reel off 16 Epsom winners having tried the Cox Plate in the last 40 years for no success: Filante, Kinjite, Super Impose and Raffindale running second at the Valley. But for some solace, Sunline ran fourth and Dane Ripper 11th in the Epsom before winning the Cox Plate.

Winx is the most exciting horse in the country right now. No horse has a more devastating finish and the Cox Plate pressure is built for her advantage. The Hugh Bowman-Chris Waller combination is equally alluring and Waller can only enhance his reputation as the nation’s best trainer by finally adding a ‘major’ to his glittering CV. Not that Preferment (flying) and Kermedec (ready) will let him down with chances.

Winx is aiming to be the first mare since Pinker Pinker to win the race and the girls have only won nine of the 94 runnings of the Cox Plate. But cop a wink, it’s Winx for the Cox Plate.

My selections

1. Winx

2. Criterion

3. Highland Reel

4. The Cleaner

Adam Campton from Unibet (view full article)

Saturday we see the running of The Cox Plate (Race 9) which is the weight-for-age championship of Australia and what a race it proves to be. Favourite for the race is the Champion colt from the Coolmore camp, Highland Reel . The punters have realised that he is a very similar horse to last year’s winner Adelaide and have kept backing him ever since that they heard he was coming out here. You always have to respect the Coolmore team when they bring one out here for a big race so we are keeping this bloke safe. Arod is the other European galloper in the race that should be very competitive. He will run out a strong 2040m and if he can repeat his last start effort where he finished second to one of the best horses in the world (Solow) then I expect him to be very hard to beat. Criterion is a genuine chance in this race after his last start win in the Caulfield Stakes. I personally didn’t think that he could win first-up but it just goes to show how good he and his trainers are. He is drawn perfectly in this and he is now a lot fitter so I expect him to be right in the finish.

Winx is the new girl on the block. Her two wins this prep have been absolutely brilliant but this is a massive rise in class and I don’t know where she will get to from barrier 1. If Bowman is positive on her out of the gates and can sit in the first four, then I think she will blow these away. She has some serious X factor. Kermadec and Preferment are both very talented horses that will run a big race in this. Could Waller run the trifecta? Among the others, Happy Trails, Hartnell and Complacent have all been good this prep and on their day they are champion horses so I can’t rule them out. This will be the race of the spring.

My selections: 14 – 12, 11 & 4

14 – Winx
12 – Preferement
11 – Kermadec
4 – Hartnell

Thomas Hackett from Ladbrokes

Highland Reel is currently on top of Cox Plate betting and punters have been quick to pick-up that this is a very similar horse to last year’s winner Adelaide. He recorded a dominant win in the Secretariat Stakes and he was far from disgraced in the Irish Champion Stakes. Arod is the other European galloper that appeals. He has form around Solow and if he is able to run out a strong 2040 metres he will be right in the finish. Criterion stamped himself as a genuine Cox Plate contender with his fast-finishing win in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes, that form was franked by Mongolian Khan last weekend and he can only improve on that effort. He is a genuine weight-for-age star. Kermadec was beaten in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes, but trainer Chris Waller might have some tricks up his sleeves. Winx is the x-factor in the race, but this is easily the toughest assignment of her racing career to date. There is no knock on the form of Hartnell, The Cleaner and Complacent and you can’t rule out either Happy Trails or Fawkner if they are able to perform at their best. Luck in running could be key here and it would not surprise if this ends up being the race of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.

Betstar Blog (view full article)

Can the favourite get the job done? I’m not 100% convinced Highland Reel is the best horse in the race but he has to be included and he’ll be hard to get past in the box seat.

Two other 2000m specialists also took up the MVRC’s Cox Plate invite from overseas this year with Frenchie Gailo Chop and the other one I fancy more than a day on the green with Adam Scott is Arod.

Dual Cox Plate winning hoop Craig Williams is in the saddle on this British visitor who is unbeaten over the distance, showing improvement in his trackwork and set to improve on his recent success over a mile back home.

Gate five helps his cause and with the right rides from their hoops, the two best fancied raiders could run the quinella.

But there’s a host of really classy locals looking to keep the Cox Plate trophy on home soil.

The best in betting from the Australian contingent is the internationally-performed Criterion who comes off a flying Caulfield Stakes win at the distance.

Is that form good enough? Not sure, but the horse sure as hell is and he’ll be getting things his way with a mid-field barrier.

And where are the ladies hiding? Winx is the mare taking on the boys here and while the rails draw isn’t exactly to her liking, especially at the tight circuit, she’s a damn star.

Chris Waller trains her and she’s won two Group 1s from her past four wins on the trot including the Epsom Handicap.

The value? Godolphin saddle-up Hartnell and Complacent who have claims while The Cleaner could get up front and hold it.


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