Cox Plate Weekend Preview – Winx, Winx, is no more!

Greetings All,


A completely different Cox Plate view this year without the dominance of Winx in the race.  Very pleased to see a runner called Nudge on the program.  Say no more!


For the racing flock among you I can’t recommend highly enough The Footy Almanac Cup Eve Lunch at the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel.  $50 for 3 courses, and special guest speakers.  Get your bookings in to [email protected]


It might me a good place to discuss some of the major issues facing the “Sport of Kings”!


Racing is very good at giving itself a black eye, the Weir-Maclean case being just one example.  It was a black-eye that came to light through the industry itself.  While the incident harms the industry it also provides some comfort in knowing no-one is too big and that if there is skull-duggery it will be investigated and punished.  There have been several over the years with many cases built into folklore such as the Fine Cotton scandal.  In every industry where there is a dollar to be made or saved there are nefarious characters whose motives are not in the interests of the industry or society in general.  The two shysters who tore down the Corkman Hotel are still engaged in property development!  No excuse for some of the behaviour in the racing industry but just a touch of perspective.


The 7:30 expose of the treatment of horses at abbatoirs took the black eye to a potentially mortal wound.  While not having seen the episode, the commentary since has adequately described disgraceful behaviour from members of the racing fraternity, poor scrutiny from those deemed responsible and a system with more holes than Panama tax laws.  Individual influential members of the racing industry have been scathing in their commentary and justifiably so, however there has not been nearly enough in response from either racing and government authorities.


Now for my real beef!  Jockeys have one of the most dangerous occupations on the planet, it is their duty to look after one another on the track.  Accidents will happen, but they need to be minimised.  Two cases before the stewards this week display the feather duster that they slap jockeys with who cause very dangerous situations.  Four months ago in the Queensland Derby Corey Brown was severely injured in a fall and his mount was euthanised, it has taken till this week for Tommy Berry and Matt McGilvray who caused that interference to be punished.  They were suspended for two and three weeks respectively, Corey Brown will not ride again until late 2020!  This is a time of year that suspensions should hurt, but not for Tommy and Matt who have both appealed and will be allowed to ride right through the lucrative spring carnival.  Their breaks are more likely to be a holiday rather than a punishment.


Damien Lane is a fine jockey and rode a brilliant race in the Caulfield Cup to win, however left a trail of destruction is his wake with only the skills of his competitors avoiding a potential catastrophe.  Then did exactly the same in the very next race!  He was charged by the stewards for both incidents and suspended for 10 meetings for each.  He not only has been allowed to serve those suspensions concurrently but then gets to pick when it starts holding onto his ride on the favourite in this week’s Cox Plate.  Without proper punishments and deterrents we are more likely to see more Queensland Derby scenarios and connections do not need 6 days to find replacement jockeys.


A fair effort last week and we did learn a bit.  Thought of That made a mess of them in the Norm and must be right in contention for the Derby, while Vegas Girl just missed out in the Ethereal – reckon she is well in for the Oaks.  Miss Leonidas ran up to her form in the Moir and was too quick.  While Manolo Blahnik was not quite up to it.  Turns out there was no issue with the barrier and Mer de Glace was just too good, not sure about over 3200 however some slashing runs in behind makes the Melbourne Cup wide open.  While Invincibella looks to be still a run away.  In Sydney one did go past Brutal and not one of mine, while Yes Yes Yes was in the selections and a mighty effort from Santa!


The Valley


It is Moonee Valley’s time to shine with meetings on Friday Night and Saturday.  Always a challenge with the track to host 18 races in less than 24 hours and some serious weather predicted.




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


Yes Yes Yes proved that the three year olds are pretty good this year and the favourite Bivouac (9) has had his measure all spring.  If he can handle the Valley it is hard to see him being beaten.  Loving Gaby (11) just missed at Caulfield and definitely does get around the circuit might be the main danger along with The Bostonian (2).  The draw does no favours for the other filly Anaheed (1) so putting Fatinah (3) to fill the last hole.  No doubt The Everest has had a huge impact on the quality of the field here.


Selections – 9-11-2-3




Cox Plate Day looks like a tough day at the office, so hopefully a couple of winners will bag some value.  The program opens up with restricted and benchmark races before the group racing begins, they might provide a sight as to how the track is likely to play.  The Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (R3, G2, 1600m, Fillies SW) is a big start to the groups races Fascino (1) ran well in the Manifold and looks well placed wary of the Sydney pair Asiago (5) and Nudge (7).  The Red Anchor Stakes (R5, G3, 1200m, 3yo SWP) is a difficult affair to sort out,  Sartorial Splendour (3) was a beaten favourite here last start and has a much kinder draw.  The Vase (R6, G2, 2040m, 3yo SW) is the next in the series of trials for the Derby and Oaks, another watch and learn.  Battenburg (1) was not far off Shadow Hero in the Spring Champion his performance will give a good sight of the Sydney vs Melbourne form.  Of the locals Soul Patch (5) was OK in the Guineas and will appreciate the extra ground while Moonlight Maid (9) is important to watch from an Oaks perspective.  As always a good race!


Then it is the Melbourne Cup trials in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup (R7, G2, 2500m, SWP) with a couple of Cox Plate emergencies at the top of the market in Mr Quickie (6) and Humidor (7), another tough one with a couple of internationals on the scene.  Not entirely enamoured with the form of Humidor (7), but he has been running at WFA and gets 4kg relief he’ll do me.  The Crystal Mile (R8, G2, 1600m, WFA) has the other emergencies in Gailo Chop (1) and Dream Castle (6), seems to be plenty of on pace runners who should set a good tempo for Sikandarabad (10) to come over the top.


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


We might not have the Winx mania but it is another Cox Plate surrounded in controversy with the exclusion ofHumidor (15) and to a lesser extent Mr Quickie (16) from the field, both with better group one records than a few others in the field.  Expect they would run well if they made the field.  They will all find it hard to beat Lys Gracieux (9)who looked something special when watching her last two runs, the outside draw some concern but not getting burnt again.  Think this has always been the target race for Avilius (2) ran 4th last year but the Melbourne Cup was the target likely to get some softer ground with the weather forecast.  Mystic Journey (12) has flown under the radar since the Turnbull, thought she ran well given the disadvantage at the weights.  If Verry Elleegant (13) relaxes she could romp it in – undefeated 3rd up and 3 from 4 over the journey – rain would not hurt.  Cape of Good Hope (11)must have a chance coming of the Caulfield Stakes win and this always looked like the race for Castelvecchio (14)from his very first start.  Have left out the unsighted Europeans with some trepidation but you can’t have them all.


Selections – 9-13-2-12-11-14


Reckon we can come home with Amangiri (5) in the Tesio Stakes (R10, G3, 1600m, Mares HCP)


Quaddie Time


Being able to take Winx blonk made this a bit easier, not the case this year.  Struggling to nail a quaddie so far and this is another really tough one, go as wide as you can afford, I will try and cut it back a bit.  In the opening leg we need to watch for the Cox Plate emergencies who I have put in the quaddie along with the internationals, if Mr Quickie (6) is withdrawn swap for Attention Run (11) .  More open in the mile and going wider as for the Cox Plate and could have missed the winner here.  Then trying to narrow it down in the last but can only get to three.


Leg 1 – 4, 5, 6, 7

Leg 2 – 1, 3, 6, 7, 10

Leg 3 – 2, 9. 11, 12, 13, 14

Leg 4 – 2, 4, 5


360 Combinations a $30 investment will return 8.33% of the dividend.


Here’s to the land of the rising sun!


Cheers, Sal


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