This morning the official 2011 Cox Plate final field and barrier draw was released with the ante-post favourite, Peter Snowden’s impressive Caulfield Guineas winner Helmet, drawing barrier 11.
Australasia’s richest weight-for-age championship, the $3 million Group 1 WS Cox Plate (2040m) will take place this Saturday at Moonee Valley and the final field of 14 starters plus two emergencies has now been released.
After much discussion Robert Hickmott’s former Melbourne Cup winner, eight-year-old Zabeel gelding Efficient was awarded the final spot in the Cox Plate 2011 field and will carry the No. 1 saddlecloth.
Melbourne Racing Club committee members said that Efficient’s consistency throughout his years of racing, his 2009 Turnbull Stakes win and his rating were all reasons why they believed he deserved a spot in this year’s race.
Efficient drew ideally in barrier five for the Cox Plate, which is likely to see them shorten dramatically in from their $26 quote in the pre-field markets at Luxbet.
First emergency for the Cox Plate is then the Mark Webb-trained Avienus, who ran sixth to dual winner So You Think in the feature last year, and who was last seen running a game second behind fellow Cox Plate acceptor Descarado in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 8.
The second emergency position was given to Stuart Webb’s triple Group 1 winner Yosei, committee members saying the reason she was not awarded a spot in the starting line-up was because her form beyond 1600 metres and her recent runs were not quite as good as some of the other horses leading into the race.
Avienus drew barrier 14 while Yosei came up with gate 13.
The sole three-year-old in this year’s race, Exceed And Excel colt Helmet has dominated the Cox Plate 2011 odds and betting markets at Luxbet over the past month.
Prior to the 2011 Cox Plate barriers being drawn, Helmet was at the top of the markets at a quote of $3.40 at Luxbet, and despite their double-digit gate is sure to maintain that position as Cox Plate favourite.
Helmet will be Snowden’s first runner in a Cox Plate and the dedicated trainer said he was more than happy with how the horse was travelling and had been working in preparation for Saturday’s big test.
“This morning’s work was perfect, it was spot-on work,” Snowden said.
“I’m really happy with him…he’s toned right done and it’s all sort of gelled together and he’s a much more relaxed horse now.
“He worked so well this morning I think we’ve just about got him there.”
Snowden said Helmet had come through his last-start Caulfield Guineas win in excellent order and was the horse to beat in the Cox Plate.
“He’s come through this run in my mind as good as he ever has done in his life,” Snowden said
“Time will tell, as you know it’s a tough race, they (the three-year-olds) are going against odler horses for the first time and over the 2000 metres for the first time.
“He deserves his place in this race and I’m sure he’ll run well.”
Although not over the moon with the barrier draw, Snowden said the gate 11 draw was not overly worrying.
“The beauty about this bloke is he doesn’t have to lead,” he said.
“I think every horse that’s here deserves to be there.
“We’re certainly good enough to win but we need to get things right.
“I just feel very privileged to have a horse that’s good enough to be in this race.”
Other notable Cox Plate 2011 hopes and their respective barrier draws include:
- Jimmy Choux (Barrier 10) – Double digits for the in-form Kiwi who sits second behind Helmet in the Cox Plate markets at Luxbet, being tipped by many rival trainers as the main danger outside of the favourite
- Lion Tamer (Barrier 16) – Last to draw a barrier, will likely blow out in the markets with the awkward gate
- Rekindled Interest (Barrier 3) – Ideal draw for Jim Conlan’s Moonee Valley specialist
- Secret Admirer (Barrier 8) – Trainer Grahame Begg was happy with this draw for his Epsom Handicap winning mare, saying they wanted “somewhere between seven and 11”
- King’s Rose (Barrier 2) – Peter Moody’s last-start Toorak Handicap runner-up drawn to perfection in barrier two, could see a big betting move as she is a two-time winner in Australia and a two time winner over the 2000 metres in her homeland New Zealand
- Sincero (Barrier 6) – Stephen Farley-trained George Main Stakes winner should get a gun run from this gate to improve on their last- start fifth over the distance in the Caulfield Stakes
- Descarado (Barrier 9) – Gai Waterhouse’s recent Caulfield Stakes winner has had injury concerns, will be checked by vets before Saturday’s race
View the full 2011 WS Cox Plate final field and barriers below and stay tuned to Races.com.au for updates throughout the day including the updated odds.
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2011 Cox Plate Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight|
|1||7X0X591X08||EFFICIENT (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||Steven King||5||59kg|
|2||12PX626X91||DESCARADO (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||9||59kg|
|3||1X2200X044||WALL STREET (NZ)||Jeff Lynds||Darren Beadman||7||59kg|
|4||0X2312X242||GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||4||59kg|
|5||111116X211||JIMMY CHOUX (NZ)||John Bary||Jonathan Riddell||10||57.5kg|
|6||X1101X1185||SINCERO||Stephen Farley||Chris O’Brien||6||57.5kg|
|7||017521X418||LION TAMER (NZ)||Murray Baker||Hugh Bowman||16||57.5kg|
|8||3322X24536||PLAYING GOD||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||15||57.5kg|
|9||55515X2415||REKINDLED INTEREST||Jim Conlan||Dwayne Dunn||3||57.5kg|
|10||X41312X807||SHAMROCKER (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Steven Arnold||1||55.5kg|
|11||31143X5122||PINKER PINKER||Greg Eurell||Craig Williams||12||55.5kg|
|12||3131X2241||SECRET ADMIRER||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||8||55.5kg|
|13||111147X112||KING’S ROSE (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2||55.5kg|
|14||X1111X3311||HELMET||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||11||49.5kg|
|15e||9855X00922||AVIENUS||Mark Webb||Brad Rawiller||14||57kg|
|16e||90X601X007||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Ms Michelle Payne||13||55.5kg|