Gai Waterhouse’s star More Than Ready mare More Joyous showed she had overcome injury and the odds and was fighting fit for her racetrack return this spring targeting the 2011 Cox Plate, the five-time Group 1 winner impressing connections in a Rosehill trial on Tuesday.
Five-year-old More Joyous has made an exceptional recovery from a tendon injury she sustained when an 11th place finish behind Sacred Choice in the Doncaster Mile at Randwick last start on April 16 bought her stunning succession of four straight Group wins to a halt in the autumn.
Originally Waterhouse and owner John Singleton had ruled out giving More Joyous a second shot in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), the recently crowned NSW Horse of the Year having run fifth to dual hero So You Think in the race last year.
However, as More Joyous continues to step up to the challenges presented to her, a 2011 Cox Plate bid is definitely shaping up as an attractive spring option.
Yesterday at Rosehill More Joyous, who looked in good condition having added bulk to her shoulder and hindquarter, won an open trial over 1030 metres in a time of 1:01.85, beating home stablmate Nobby Snip by a nose and pleasing Waterhouse to no end.
“She looks fantastic,” Waterhouse said on Tuesday.
“She has furnished into a very strong, healthy mare.”
More Joyous is now right on track for her first-up run which Waterhouse confirmed would be in the $500,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 30.
“She won’t have another trial, I’ll just be getting her ready for the Manikato,” Waterhouse said.
For the trial More Joyous was ridden by her regular jockey, the currently suspended Nash Rawiller, who was also happy with her work.
“She is starting to build-up fitness wise now and she feels great,” he said.
Current 2011 Manikato Stakes betting markets have More Joyous sitting as the $7 third favourite behind unlikely acceptor Black Caviar ($1.7) and Peter Snowden’s boom colt Sepoy ($3).
2011 Cox Plate Odds
Futures all-in betting showing top 24 horses.
Waterhouse has 16 other horses from her stable nominated for the 2011 Cox Plate along with More Joyous.
While More Joyous is the best fancied of her contingent to take out the weight-for-age feature on October 22 paying $26 in the Cox Plate 2011 odds at Luxbet, other notable entries for Waterhouse include Caulfield Cup winner Descarado ($26), improving Snippetson gelding Fast Clip ($35), former AJC Oaks winner Once Were Wild ($61) and The Metropolitan champion Herculian Prince ($71).
Waterhouse also has a number of these gallopers, including defending champion Descarado, heading towards the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15.
Descarado is due to resume racing in the $350,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 17, with Waterhouse naming the Cox Plate as the more likely grand final for the High Chaparral five-year-old.
“His ultimate mission this spring is likely to be the Cox Plate,” Waterhouse said.
“I’m hoping to get Once Were Wild and Herculian Prince to the Caulfield Cup.”
Caulfield Cup odds at Luxbet have Descarado at $35 despite the possibility he won’t be there to defend his title, while Once Were Wild and Herculian Prince are at $51.
Luxbet rate Brisbane Cup winner Tullamore as Waterhouse’s best chance of securing back-to-back Caulfield Cups this year, the sitting at a quote of $26 in the Caulfield Cup betting markets.
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