Cox Plate: “Here come the New Zealanders!”

As Bill Collins said back in 1986 when Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star took off together in that year’s Cox Plate, “Here come the New Zealanders!”
Well they are here alright as yesterday’s results showed.

First up we had the unbeaten It’s A Dundeel sent off at around $1.30 in the Mitchelton Wines Vase. There was debate all week whether he was to run in this race or proceed straight to the Derby. Eventually, the trainer decided he needed one more run to be right for Derby Day in a week’s time. The implication was that he didn’t need a gut-buster but just a nice hitout. The fact that he got out to $1.30 should have alerted punters that there was some risk as he looked a genuine $1.10 chance given his ratings were vastly superior to his rivals. A slow tempo and the desire for a soft run combined to see him beaten for the first time. Still the one to be on next week.

Next their best mare, maybe even their best horse, Silent Achiever, got up to win the Waterford Crystal Mile over Rangirangdoo at Weight-For-Age at 1600m, a distance that is shorter than her best. Apparently she is now headed for the Matriarch Stakes on the last day of the Flemington carnival. This is shaping to be one of the races of the spring with Spirit Song, Star Of Giselle, Midnight Martini, Crafty Irna, Zurella and, of course, The Almanac’s adopted daughter, Oasis Bloom. She will surely be back same time next year for a crack at all the big ones.

Then we got to the Cox Plate where Green Moon inexplicably started favourite despite having won a total of ZERO weight-for-age races. Ocean Park had won 3 Group 1 races this prep including his last 2 at weight-for-age. Happy Trails and Ethiopia provided the first surprises with both contesting the early lead making Gai’s choice of barrier 11 for More Joyous look even worse when she was 4 or 5 wide out of the straight the first time. Her chances were effectively gone. The winner, Ocean Park, proved a little too strong and seasoned for the 3YO, All Too Hard who beat the rest easily. I thought Pierro and Proisir both ran really well but Gai gives these horses such tough programs. I hope they can both come back to fulfill their undoubted potential. Green Moon again travelled wide, but was beaten off early. Ethiopia fought on well and now goes on to the Cup. Next year might be better but he deserves his chance as he has the necessary class but may lack the hardness of some of his rivals.

I think the overall message leading into Flemington is to forget about Gai’s runners and upgrade your opinion of any NZ runners.


  1. Skip of Skipton says

    I told you they should have run Alcopop in the Cox Plate.

  2. Thought Southern Speed was a fantastic cup trial, now they’ve declared it will run and booked Nash Rawiller. Nash may be able to ride a nice patient race if he hasn’t forgotten how to, I guess no one told them that they don’t just let you glide up outside the leader in a Cox Plate. I don’t think that the forward ride on Ethiopia will help from a cup perspective either as now there’s a chance (if they run) that it may get fired up.

    The derby has now opened up somewhat and I’m sure Elvis will be getting even more excited with his long shot plunge on Malabar Man but I’m still with Its a Dundeel, I thought it was pretty good considering he never really put it into the race, typical NZ type of run before the race they really want, may get 2/1 now and it will be the anchor in any of my quaddies.

    Bring on Derby day, I’ve got a pocket full of money from yesterday and I’m ready to fire up.

  3. Back home after a terrific Cox Plate – how “General” Waterhouse thought her horses could win out in the “Stands” was beyond me but I remember my old dad saying “stick with the NZers son and you wont go wrong”
    Agree Budge
    Skip/Jock – I sacked Southern Speed (now dont know)

  4. Budge,

    Ethiopia ran up to my expectations, probably exceeded them. Reckon he might be a future star.

  5. David Downer says

    Was indeed a trip back in time with some Kiwi cunning on Cox Plate day.

    Sounds like most of us found Ocean Park and have some folding for Flemington. After returning to view some replays again on Friday night, it became more apparent that he did have the superior turn of foot – and so it proved. His trainer wouldn’t say boo to a goose, this found us a couple of points in price as well.

    Apologies to those who were “Lloyded” on Green Moon. I was Lloyded myself on Midas Touch.

    Big run Silent Achiever, one of the few to have beaten Ocean Park previously. She’ll be hard to beat this week too.

    Derby Day, as always, looking a ripper. Have started my Cup week leave on Friday to do the form!

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