Almanac Racing: Sal’s W.S. Cox Plate Day Preview – Who could give a Zaaki?



Greetings All,


Last Saturday showed why the Caulfield Cup is such a great race – the win of Incentivise was exhilarating drawing comparisons with the demolition Might and Power did on the field in 1997.  He copped a 3kg penalty and went on to salute in the Melbourne Cup.  Can the new star do the same, only got a 1½ kg penalty but not many winners have carried 57kg.  The Everest has to be the longest sprint race in the world, as soon as it is over the sponsor broadcaster is spruiking who is going to run next year.  The race itself was just another 6 furlong sprint, yet a definitive victory for Nature Strip.  A great effort from CJW to have him peaking for the grand final.


It’s the Valley’s turn this with the Cox Plate and a support program of another 18 races over about 24 hours.  The weather looks like it will be a factor with rain forecast throughout the Friday Night meeting and then again on Saturday.  If it heavy on Friday Night while they are racing it will have a severe impact on Saturday’s conditions.  The rail will be in the true position on both days.


Friday Night Lights


A couple of years ago Linda Meech lost the ride on Thought of That (R2, 5#) as favourite for the Derby.  He is a bold front running type, she has no peer when comes to rating a leader – they are together again but the price is pretty short.  The owners that made that decision have divested – they have a couple of other handy ones now!  Mahashakti (R3, #5) is back on the winners list and looks a good chance.  Maher-Eustice have a strong hand in the sixth including the favourite The Gauch (R6, #2), more interested with the value that might be on offer for Lady Pluck (R6, #9).


Race 7 – Manikato Stakes (G1, 1200m, WFA)


If The Everest attacked the Caulfield Cup program then it has destroyed this race as a genuine group one event.  But Group One it is and while not the strongest field it is very competitive.  Maher-Eustice have four of the thirteen runners.  One of those is the undefeated Sneaky Five (12), our sneaky five on her came up last time and we might just do the same again here.  Winning form is good form so despite the rise in class Lombardo (6) is a chance and proven around this circuit.  Bella Nipotina (8)  and  Savatoxl (4) are both in excellent form while consideration should also be given to Express Pass (5) especially if the rains hit hard.


Selections – 12-6-8-4


We’ll reach half time for the Valley watching Silent Sovereign (R8, #9), she is a beauty first up.


Superb Saturday


We will let the babies scoot around in the opener unencumbered with any expectations from here.  Interesting runner in the second is Gem of Scotland (R2, #7).  Handy record in Queensland having her first start for Adelaide based Will Clarken, Linda Meech onboard hoping there is fire under the smoke!  An outside draw might help Robodira (R3, #1) who was pocketed all the way in the race won by Sneaky Five, JMac on board helps also.

It’s group racing all the way in now!


Race 4 – Red Anchor Stakes (G3, 1200m, 3yo SW)


Starts off with a tough one, watched Mornington Glory (8) brain them at Bendigo before an even effort down the straight.  Reckon he might be Ok round the bend and present fair value.  Captain obvious will have Generation (4), should get a good run and experience around the circuit helps.  They will all have to catch Dosh (9) (as we are trying to do) any leader bias puts her right in it, while He’s Xceptional (1) has a win on the board here.


Selections – 8-4-9-1


Race 5 – Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (G2, 1600m, 3yo SW)


Reckon Stern Impulse (4) could go one better this week after a game effort last week.  Ignoring the Thousand Guineas run of Heresy (2) makes her very hard to beat, while her stablemate Vianello (1) comes off a win last week.  Certainly watch on the undefeated Maracana (7), well up in grade but the D O’Brien polish and Prebble steer might just be the right mix.


Selections – 4-2-7-1


Race 6 – Chrystal Mile (G2, 1600m, WFA)


Looks like Buffalo River (4) will get conditions to suit again just got to get the extra 200m, the spanner in the works could be Rhinocerous (10) who is likely to contest the lead and make it a solid tempo.  With that I am favouring the other specimen in the field in Elephant (5) to be able to come over the top.  Also expect Romancer (3) to be finishing strongly while also wary of Embolism (8) especially if the forecasted rain does not come.


Selections – 5-4-3-8


Race 7 – The Vase (G2, 2040m, 3yo SW)


We are on trial for the Derby again with the nominal favourite Forgot You (1) dominates the market here.  Understandable given his undefeated record here and a good run in the Guineas.  Almost impossible to separate the rest – giving Blackcomb (14) the best chance coming off a luckless run in Adelaide.  Sticking with Antonio Giovanni (8) to be rattling home and Spirit of Gaylard (9) should appreciate the extra journey.


Selections – 1-14-8-9


Race 8 – Moonee Valley Gold Cup (G2, 2500m, SWP)


Floating Artist (12) was a beaten odds-on favourite last start but suspect the race shape had much to do with the result.  He gets some weight relief here and expect the extra trip won’t be an issue.  The defending champ Miami Bound (11) does not seem to be in good enough form, was the same last year but saluted.  Not making the same mistake.  We don’t hear much about Harpo Marx (7) but he is racing consistently and looks well in here.  Pondus (10) should strip fitter second up to run well.


Selections – 12-11-7-10


Race 9 – WS Cox Plate (G1, 2040m, WFA)


Always good for a bit of controversy with the committee excluding Keiai Nautique from the field.  While not winning has been competitive in his last couple of starts, would have thought without a full field a start was warranted.  The threat for the race is that with two horses under an injury cloud a potential field of eight could strip the race of speed.  Suspect it won’t though with two three year olds in the event, suspect one of them probably Captivant (10) will take advantage of the lightweight and try to emulate So You Think and Shamus Award leading all the way.  Anamoe (9) is probably drawn too wide to be that aggressive early, he might just be good enough not to have to.


Ultimately this race is all about Zaaki (1), if you can ignore his last start failure he is in the tomato sauce.  I am ignoring it, race was run too slowly, track was pretty firm and not one of C Williams’ better rides.  JMac is back on board, the track conditions should suit, does have to contend with the Valley.  If there are any chinks then another last start failure is the biggest danger in Verry Elleegant (6), she gets to have a mulligan with nine group ones to her name.  If PGM had sent Incentivise here he would be the favourite – Mo’unga (5) ran him to less than a length then put in a mighty effort in the Epsom.  Respect for the two internationals but not in my top 4.


Selections – 1-6-9-5


Race 10 – Tesio Stakes (G3, 1600m, Mares HCP)


A tough close to the program, reckon Magna Bella (5) has a chance to go one better than last start.  With her over Annavisto (4) only for the price, she is in terrific form and looks well suited here.  Only Words (7) is racing well but needs some luck while Ecumenical (11) will be steaming home on a wing and a prayer.  Could have it all wrong, leaving all the Sydney girls out is certainly a risk.


Selections – 5-4-7-11


Quaddie Time


A conundrum this week, we have three well backed favourites in the first three legs and a raffle in the last.  So we will be skinny in those first three legs and hope to stay alive for the finale.


Leg 1 – 1, 14

Leg 2 – 7, 11, 12

Leg 3 – 1, 6, 9

Leg 4 – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13


144 Combinations, $30 investment could return 20.83% of the dividend!


Perhaps also a really skinny one 1/12/1/Field if all those favourites get up.


Go Zaaki!


Cheers Sal



We’ll do our best to publish two books in the lead-up to Christmas 2021. The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020  and the 2021 edition to celebrate the Dees’ magnificent premiership season(title is up for discussion at the moment!). These books will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers and Demons season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from these two Covid winters. Enquiries HERE


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