Crio’s Racing: Making the call on the Cox Plate

You have to make some big calls or doing the form eats you up. For example, there was a time – not long ago in fact – when the philosophy was to ignore the “International Raiders” and just take the better odds created for local runners over the Carnival. The algorithm has flipped but the need for a generalized shortcut remains. Some punters, for example, dismissed wide gates at Caulfield. Others used the “Heath hoodoo” to dismiss Sydneysiders. Apprentices who can’t use their claim/ second-up/ even female hoops…prejudice prevails and the key is in ensuring the calculation is relevant. But, eventually, you have to bite the bullet, put a line through some and make a selection.
So it is for the Cox Plate. I’m disregarding the 3 yr olds, looking for toughened mile and a quarter WFA runners and thus going for Ocean Park, Green Moon, Rekindled Interest. It could all go awfully wrong, but that’s my call! I do worry that Gai’s horses might try the African marathoners’ tactics and set themselves up at the front, running sectionals to suit. But once the blowtorch is lit, I’m reckoning on late swoopers swamping them as the Burston Stand bellows. It is an interesting contest and, as usual, the ride of the race wins.
We’re in for a long weekend at the Valley with 17 races over the 24 hours beginning with the Friday Night Manikato Stakes meeting and then, of course, resuming for Cox Plate Day. The fields have generally held up pretty well. I only hope that the track and the crowds can do likewise. Other than those working, I do not actually know anyone who is intending to “do the double”. There’s a great chance here for Members to get some value from their ticket as public prices are $20 and $55 for the respective meetings.
There’s been no time to sift the form during this busy week so let’s pool our minds and try to get a bank for Flemington.
One advantage of the night races is the policy of racing every 30 minutes from a start time of 6.45pm.
R1- 3000m like the old Jumpers’ Flat though the quality is not bad. I backed Buxted (1) in the G1 Metrop.
R2- 2040m. Sussuro (3) E/W at double figure odds.
R3- 1200m. 3+5 on form. Query K.McEvoy debutante Hollywood Gothic (9).
R4- Crockett Stakes (Listed, 1200m, 3yo fillies). 4 or 5 real chances. 6 from 9 to upset the favs.
R5- 955m Challenge. Not keen. It’s Crunch Time 1/1 but D.Harrison/fav/City is a rare combo! S.Hillebrand comes down from Darwin with No Means Go (3). Maybe Chelembra $15 first up?
R6- Manikato Stakes (1200m, G1). No Black Caviar this year which is a shame for the MVRC but a boon for Buffering and the red hot Heathcote stable. Is Barrier 1 a problem?
R7- 1600m. G2. 3yo fillies. Mareeza (5)
R8- 1600m. Country Cup. Forty Thirty (1)
Saturday’s card has also been compressed. Take note VRC – R1 @ 1pm and R9 @ 6pm!
R1- 1000m. 2yo. Could not bet with stolen money – unless there’s a tip about!
R2- 1000m. Love Paul Perry down here, esp when the money lobs. IAS claim $5.50 bet for I Get Around (9). Now $2.60. Stephen Brown’s punters have also stepped in for Winter King (4). Intriguing race.
R3- Kav loves this day. Midnight Martini (3) has the chance to honour Whobe’s legacy here.
R4- 1200m. G3 3yo. Nash rides Hidden Warrior (2) @ 12/1 for P.Perry! G.A. Ryan’s Cavalry Rose (7) is top pick.
R5- 2040m. G2 3yo. Excited to see Derby fav It’s a Dundeel (1), which should win. I love this race, especially the epic Kempinsky/Elvstroem edition.
R6- Cup. 2500m G2. Precedence (2)
R7- Mile. G2. Great little race. Conditions look ideal for Rangirangdoo (1). Solzenitsyn (2) is the new star miler. Silent Achiever (7) will be better suited here. 1 from 2 + 7.
R8- Plate. 2040m. G1. 9,5,4.
R9- 1600m. G3. Mares. Budge is the expert in this get out. Lots of these could be “gunnas” – such as Zurella (3), a live chance if you are forgiving. Star of Giselle (5) is the mare who knows how to win.
Cox Plate week holds great memories for avid racing fans (ref Budge’s Top 10 piece earlier) and for those who can down to the track another enthralling piece of racing history is sure to be witnessed. And, as so many comments have overtly or covertly admitted, those memorable moments are that bit more special when you’ve backed the winner.
Thursday night. Dinner in the oven. Stubbie open. Winning Post at the ready. You beauty!
Good luck!


  1. Manikato Stakes on Friday night. Evens Buffering and $15 Bel Sprinter. WHAT !!!
    Get on Bel Sprinter. Unbeaten at the Valley whereas unsuited from barrier 1 last start at Flemington following soft 1st up win here. Way overs and a chance to get a good bank for Saturday.

  2. Crio,

    The 3yo’s in the WSCP can’t win. In Pierro’s If you can name the last horse to win the Cox plate the year after winning a Golden Slipper and Answer NONE, you win a prize. The unimaginatively named Proicir is having his 5th start and is by a sire who best staying progeny race in India. All Too Hard is very good on his day, but he’s had his day in the sun.

    Green Moon and Ocean Park tick most of the appropriate boxes. Forest for the trees. But……

    I reckon Ethiopia might be a star of the future. Won the AJC Derby at his fourth start in a race after 2 great runs at MV including a luckless second in the Alister Clarke over the C and D. Two good runs this time in. There are no Northerly type “War Horses” in this year so I’m tipping the War Horse in waiting. Ethiopia. Been cuddled with this race in mind. The only negative is the alleged jockey R McLeod.

    I will give myself an uppercut later for actually broadcasting this, but having settled on Ethiopia, I have learned that country’s national flag is Red Yellow and Green stripes, the colours of Happy Trails. Might have $4000 to $10 the quinella.

    Not ridiculous if you consider the 3yo’s have no chance, as I do.

  3. Crio,

    Pretty ordinary Cox Plate in my opinion. Is this another bad year for WFA Stars? Where are the Rough Habits, All Our Mob’s, Jugglers and Fields of O’Moustaches of yesteryear?

  4. Crio,

    I’m on fire. Another point. Luskin Star won the Syd Triple Crown, as did Pierro, but he actually WON the Caulfield Guineas. He couldn’t win a Cox Plate, and he would tow Pierro with saddlebags full of wet hotel room towels.

  5. Elvis,
    Did you actually research Ethiopia’s flag colours? Extraordinary. And then turned the answer into a quinella!!
    Agree with the sentiments but R. McLeod as a Cox Plate winner jockey???

    What price would Manighar be if he was up and running. Think he’d fit into your war horse profile. Given that, Southern Speed seems way over the odds as there hasn’t been much between those two. Have to forgive last start but previous form was as good as any.

    Don’t agree that its an ordinary Cox Plate. May be lacking quality at the top end (may not be too) but lots of depth and none that don;t deserve a chance. Re the 3YOs, I doubt one can win but usually a good one will run a place which means you need to put All Too Hard into the trifectas.

    Interesting to see NZs 2nd best horse, Ocean Park, is one of the favourites. Their best horse is Silent Achiever who is racing in the Waterford Mile. Must have had a setback so she couldn’t be set for the Cups but she is extra smart though 1600m is less than ideal distance. On class alone she will be hard to beat.

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    Yes, Ethiopia is the dark horse. Lightly raced with the AJC Derby on his CV. Under the radar and over the odds.

    Like I said on Budge’s thread, I’m a Green Moon fan, but also keen on Shoot Out at big odds. Pierro has to be included. He has the pedigree to get a strong 10 and one-fifth furlongs. He was badly ridden in the Guineas. 1, 4, 8, 12.

    Will risk leaving out Southern Speed. The rest I can’t enthuse about for one reason or another.

  7. David Downer says

    I have to admit I’m in some sort of agreement with Skip re Ethiopia. We were discussing him in other channels earlier today.

    On face value it seems madness that a horse with only six career runs, starting at an average price of over $20, and never less than $10, could be considered to win the WFA championship.

    But he appears a rather unique, very lightly raced case. His run in the Turnbull was a bottler, ran up backsides all over the place and still finished very strongly, we know he comes hard late. This campaign he’s also found some gate speed. My initial speed-map has him dropping out and poised to have the last crack – but if he can jump well, he can take the trail on Green Moon who starts one inside him.

    The query would be the jock – you can’t quite picture his name up in lights on this stage.

    But as mentioned, he is the X-factor horse with untapped ability, blinkers on first time, at a nice old price. He’ll get some of mine.

    Green Moon presents the lowest risk / option with the least knocks– but for some reason I don’t wanna back him just yet. Ocean Park in similar boat.

    Rekindled Interest – is he ready by now? Not performing as well as last year, but Dunn is back on, and MV is obviously his go. His best hope might be waiting for the miracle rails run Pinker Pinker style from barrier 1.

    Even More Joyous, may have gone over the top with the hard Toorak run – but don’t dismiss what she did in the Queen Elizabeth at Randwick, beating Manighar easily over the 2000 WFA. Pace the major factor for her, like that run. Team Gai might just get their own way up front – we might see some earlier moves from others then.

    Of the three year olds – when I keep writing them off I keep thinking of the 49.5kgs. The Guineas gut-buster might have cooked Pierro, but All Too Hard might still be on the improve. If this race was at Flemington, I’d definitely be backing ATH – so I might consider the Valley as providing some better odds. Seems much better Melbourne way than Sydney.

    Intriguing affair, could play out so many different ways. Crio’s nailed it – you just gotta make a call and be done with it! Some races you just have to sit back and enjoy the spectacle – and wax lyrical with the wisdom of hindsight afterwards!


  8. cowshedend says

    To be honest ,a lot of 3yo’s that have gone around in the Cox have been pretty ordinary,and i haven’t fallen into one since Our Maizcay in 95 when another 3yo won in Octagonal.I remember scoffing at a bloke who liked Zavabeel and another who spruiked Viscount(how that protest was dismissed is beyond me).
    Green Moon was a fantastic run last start did a power of work, but if anything was a little dour,wonder if he has the turn of foot needed in the Cox.
    Reckon Southern Speed was awful last start,but as Budge said was racing well previously.
    Just reckon Pierro is a bit special, keep trying to find ways for him to get beaten, but keep coming back to him.
    I love Nash,but haven’t seen a better slaughter of a youngster since Herrod was around, although i believe Jackie Tse sent him a congratulatory email welcoming him to an exclusive club with he and Shane Scriven.

  9. My understanding is that when Hitler pushed on toward Stalingrad (SW+P), he did so with explicit orders from Gai and assurances that conditions would suit.

  10. cowshedend says

    Don’t mention Stalingrad to the Baron Crio,he even hates ice in his drinks

  11. Don’t thihk the heavy 10 helped Hitler’s chances

  12. Skip of Skipton says

    Was a Good 3 when he set off. Correct weight and trophy presentation before the expected downgrade never in doubt!

  13. I reckon Shane Dye may have been CCd in that email as well….

    Pleased to see support for Ethiopia, got on earlier this week at 26s expecting him to firm and has, but of course you can’t eat value. Similarly concerned with the boy Rhys, gets his chance to shine alright, hope he’s up to it. And will be roving Green Moon in all exotics.

    Never seen a better lay than Pierro – brilliant sprinter/miler 3yos never win this race, proven time and again from Luskin Star through Testa Rossa and Redoute’s Choice, even to Helmet, beaten fave last year.

    Good luck punters.

  14. Skip of Skipton says

    The WS Cox Plate isn’t run over the 3000m course, so I’m confident Rhys will do well.

  15. Unfort he does have to pass the post twice though Skip…

  16. Skip of Skipton says

    He’s unaccustomed to Quarter-horse racing, so he should be OK.

  17. Since we have linked Russian History and Moonee Valley races – not your usual mix but another opportunity for Elvis to look for omens – perhaps it is time to discuss the horse from the Gulag Archipelago (Queensland), sired by St Petersburg – Solzhenitsyn (Sat MR7 No2)?
    Few at Caulfield attempted to pronounce the name, though a staff member (and teacher!) consistently butchered it – when I finally corrected him, he said he couldn’t pronounce these f-ing German names!
    Ripper horse. Good name. I reckon he is shaded by Rangi in Saturday’s big mile.

  18. “Woops from the bush” time in Melbourne for Oges ready to attack the night racing and Cox Plate with no confidence in betting- just to cross it off the “bucket list” and enjoy
    Elvis- you have come to the fore early with your thoughts DD – you maust be Captain Cash now after last week? Budge- still on for saturday?
    Skip- came through Avoca on way here- how was the Cup?
    Freeza- agree on Pierro
    Cowshed- even though Im a loyal South Aussie cant have Southern Speed
    Crio- look for a tip tonight/ tomorrow

  19. Nice history lesson and you’ve almost got Elvis playing Rasputin, looking for omens and performing some magic.
    Back to reality, Friday night first and trying to build a bank for Saturday. I have to agree with the Budge that Bel Sprinter looks good odds and if he jumps will probably get Buffering’s back which should help his chances. There doesn’t look to be great speed so I think they will need to be up there in this one.
    A couple of others I like tonight are Red Typhoon in the 2nd, back on a better track and looks well in for a group 3 winner albeit over 2500. I also like Saturn Rock in the 4th, I think it will get to good odds with Ageuda probably getting short and may be taken on if trying to lead, rail is normal and I think Saturn Rock can just sit back a bit and run over them.

    If this all works out then I’ll probably have a crack at Green Moon, great win 3 deep/no cover last time and will get a great run. I might save on Southern Speed which was basically pulled up in that race after a hard run but I keep thinking of the form with Manighar so at her best must be a hope at 40’s.

    Might back Vatuvei in the MV cup, what a poor field. I think tht with the exception of Ibicenco, I have personally sacked every other runner at some point.

  20. Skip of Skipton says

    I didn’t go to the Avoca Cup, Oges. Although I had lunch there on Sunday, and can vouch for the ploughman’s lunch at Olive and Lavender cafe.

    Enjoy the Valley before it gets bulldozed and turned into a high density apartment village with streets like Manikato mews, Kingston Town terrace, Gammalite grove etc.

    Jock, the MV Cup is crap, but Precedence sticks out like a sore thumb for me. He’s in the quad one-out.

  21. After the ‘good things’ got rolled at Stalingrad, Himmler told Adolf “never bet odds on, or run up steppes”.

  22. Warming to Shoot Out as the genuine 2000m WFA horse at the odds.

    Zurella is the one to get us out in the last tomorrow. Disappointing last start but it was in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes behind Green Moon and she was only $20 in that. Back to mares grade and well weighted plus BLINKERS ON!
    Get on!

  23. Budge,

    Ups, downs and plateaus. Sort the Cox Plate runners into these three categories and you find a potential winner.

    3yo’s have plateaued. Southern Speed and Shoot Out are on a down, Ethiopia is in the “up” category.

    There are exceptions to this rule I will admit, and would be happy to elucidate, but having trouble typingh.

    Hope you get the gist.

  24. Did you see tonight’s races? Didn’t they serve it up to Buffering? Satin Shoes went berserk. The fav needed to be Pure Steel to make it back to his stall.

  25. As expected, the tip in the first is for Corsten’s.

  26. John Harms says

    Crio, I’m getting worried. WE have independently arrived at the same numbers ofr the Cox Plate. 9,5,4.

    Texan Warney in hot form.

  27. David Downer says

    Exciting morning chaps, here we go…

    After agreeing with Crio to just take a stand on the Cox Plate form and be done with it – I then of course delved further, more replays, more history etc! So here are my musings on the main races…

    R6 MV Gold Cup
    This surely has to be the day for MIDAS TOUCH. Won’t know himself with 55kgs, and finally out to a decent 2000+ distance again. Last time he ran over this sort of trip was the Arc in 2010! I think he’ll dictate up front or just sit off Ironstein (who’s going great guns) and scoot away. Ibicenco the unknown – hasn’t won since his debut (MT not much better on that score!), and mixed his form overseas, but a second to Opinion Poll this year in a Euro G3 is handy for this. But Midas Touch for me – old mate Lloyd has given him a fair old push too.

    R7 Crystal Mile
    I think this is set right up for RANGIRANDOO under the race’s new WFA conditions. Plenty of handicappers stepping up to these bigger weights for the first time, water off a duck’s back for the old boy. He sat 5 or 6 wide the entire trip in the Epsom, complete forgive. Before that he was head to head with Cox Plate hopeful Shoot Out, and he just does not lie down. Can remember him winning this race three years ago and eating up the track. Respect also for the Kiwi Silent Achiever – who beat Ocean Park in the Waikato Guineas earlier in the year.

    R8 Time honoured W S Cox Plate
    Specking a few, but have now settled on OCEAN PARK as my top pick and major invest. I can’t find a knock on him, and think he has the superior turn of foot. In the Underwood he had to kick-start his sprint a couple of times after being held up, but he can still get moving, so is adaptable if things get rough. He should almost be unbeaten in his career. First up this prep in NZ he showed an exhilarating sprint, and the last win at Caulfield beating Alcopop was more a dour effort in prep for today – which of course has always been the target. His trainer doesn’t say boo to a goose, so he’s out of mind’s eye more than the others being spruiked all over the shop.

    Have already backed ETHIOPIA as the potential blow-out – if he gets a clear run, look out. And can’t deny ALL TOO HARD on the weight advantage. And Rekindled Interest gets a couple of units, just because!

    Also had another look at More Joyous’ Cox Plate against So You Think in 2010. When the champ started niggling at her at the 800 she was fighting but couldn’t go with him. No SYT out there today. And she dictated terms successfully in the QE at Randwick. But note Shoot Out beat her home in that Cox Plate too.

    And Green Moon could very well be the winner, but has the Cup always been the goal for Lloyd instead?

    Won’t harp on further – there’s seven of them who’d surprise me if they won, and seven who wouldn’t. Go the Kiwi.

  28. Poor old Rangi…brave as can be. Needed to be Gunsynd to stave off the swoop. Big fav of mine (and not thru the kick!).

  29. The winner is the best NZ horse. The 2nd best won the Cox Plate so Rangi did OK!

  30. Skip of Skipton says

    I was hoping for All Too Hard in the last furlong. The big fat bloke, Black Cav and what not. Can’t knock the winner though, his run was huge. Northerly-esque!

    My pics were 3rd, 4th, 5th and Green Moon.

  31. We had a skinny win on the Cox Plate but, like the Melbourne Cup, the bookies have a big chance because everyone has multiple bets – not only the prepost punters, but hands up anyone who only had the one try in the main race? People spend years boasting of winners they’ve backed in the W.S., but I’m not sure the bottom line has the boasted profit.

  32. Skip of Skipton says

    I had a WIN bet on Shoot Out only today, crio. The others were all in multiples.

  33. I only glanced up at the screen but could see that All Too Hard was cantering towards the turn – he’d had a cosy run/no weight, but still would’ve loved a cart in to the straight. The swooper invariably wins. Good WFA beat best middle distance 3yo. Huge gap to 3dr – Pierro certainly has ticker. also – needs a spell.

  34. Now that the Sydney cox plate is over we can look forward to derby day. Goodbye channel 9, you did ok, but I,m sort of glad you,re gone , hope seven deliver a more Melbourne flavour

  35. Skip of Skipton says

    All to Hard, Pierro, Ocean Park, Ethiopia etc are the new regime; and about time. Maybe Super Cool also; Kav doesn’t like being left out.

  36. Peter Flynn says

    Lloyded again.

    Don’t touch Lloyd after Oct 2.

    Fraught with danger.


    King Midas and hid Green Moon

  37. Peter Flynn says

    His Green Moon.

  38. Skip of Skipton says

    Here’s a good one for a slow old Sunday.

    “Is this really happening?!”

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