Today in an upset result Greg Eurell’s classy mare Pinker Pinker raced away to win Australasia’s weight-for-age championship, the 2011 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, handing her Cranbourne-based trainer his maiden Cox Plate success and super jockey Craig Williamshis second.
Coming off a second place finish to fellow Cox Plate rival Secret Admirer in the Epsom Handicap, Reset four-year-old Pinker Pinker was only rated a $26 chance in the Luxbet markets, but she proved a juicy pick for those punters that were brave enough to take her.
She had history against her today as a mare, and an awkward barrier 11 draw to overcome, but she beat both history and the barriers to be crowned the 2011 Cox Plate winner.
There was early drama in the Cox Plate as Jimmy Choux, second favourite in the Luxbet markets, broke through the front of the barriers and delayed start time for the marquee race.
He didn’t go far, however, with jockey Jonathan Riddell quickly getting him under control and back to the gates for the race to be run.
But with the delay a number of the other runners got itchy in the barriers and Wall Street came out.
Luckily for connections and the rare few who got the 2011 Cox Plate First Four, which paid close to $40k, Wall Street was not scratched and went on to finish fourth behind runner-up Jimmy Choux and third placegetter Rekindled Interest.
Throughout all the pre-race antics, Williams kept Pinker Pinker calm and she was ready to race by the time the barriers went up.
She needed a good ride from that gate and what a sweet run Williams gave her, capping off an outstanding seven days that started with a Caulfield Cup win aboard Southern Speed, included the Geelong Cup victory with French raider Dunaden, and finished today, Williams adding a second Cox Plate trophy to his cabinet following his 2006 success with Fields Of Omagh.
In one of the most intriguing and open editions of the $3 million Group 1 Tatts Cox Plate (2040m), a capacity 14 starters jumped from the barriers for the first time since 2005, but it was Pinker Pinker who raced their way into the history books, just the sixth mare to do so.
Pinker Pinker joined a star-studded list of Cox Plate winning mares along with Tranquil Star (1942, 1944), Flight (1945, 1946), Dane Ripper (1997), Sunline (1999,2000) and Makybe Diva (2005).
Cox Plate favourite was the Peter Snowden-trained Helmet who was away very fast from the gates before crossing to the rails and finding the lead.
He was weighted for success with just 49.5kg and came off a record breaking win in the Caulfield Guineas, but Helmet just didn’t have enough horse power to pull off a Cox Plate victory as a three-year-old eventually fading to finish eighth, four and a half lengths from the winner.
Holding onto his lead up the front of the field, Helmet was quickly put under pressure with 600 metres to go, Underwood Stakes winner Lion Tamer moving up along with gun Kiwi galloper Jimmy Choux and Peter Moody’s King’s Rose.
Going onto the straight it was the John Bary-trained Jimmy Choux, previously undefeated at the distance, who was the leader.
It looked as though Jimmy Choux would race away to his fourth elite level success in the Cox Plate 2011, but in a perfectly timed ride Pinker Pinker stormed down his outside and was able to run over the top of him.
Pinker Pinker hit the front in the final 50 metres and found the line one and a quarter lengths clear of a brave Jimmy Choux, with a further half-neck to Cox Plate third placegetter and track specialist Rekindled Interest.
The Jim Conlan-trained Rekindled Interest, who won the AAMI Vase on Cox Plate Day 12 months ago, got knocked down a couple of times trying to make his move, so his effort to cross third a gallant one.
Aside from the Cox Plate winner, the eye-catching run of the race was from fourth placegetter Wall Street, Jeff Lynd’s New Zealand galloper coming from near last to fourth in an outstanding effort.
Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer was a nose further back in fifth, continuing the Epsom – Cox Pate hoodoo, while gallant old grey Efficient ran sixth.
Today’s Cox Plate success was a terrific training effort by Eurell, who was moved to tears with the result.
“Hard to absorb at the moment, it’s really got to me, great experience,” he said.
Eurell was quick to credit Williams for his ride and commitment to the horse.
“We spoke to Craig yesterday afternoon…he had it worked out to the minute what he wanted to do, he was very confident,” Eurell said.
And deliver Williams did.
“It’s a great thrill,” Williams said of the Cox Plate win.
“Pinker Pinker deserves to win the race, she was great.
“She was relaxed…just gritted her teeth and bared it, she was awesome today.”
The best Cox Plate payouts were those collect by the punters at Luxbet, the First Four paying an incredible $46,059.25.
Luxbet punters that had Jimmy Choux for the win may have been initially disappointed when he was run down, but thanks to Luxbet’s $250 2nd Place Refund Bet they were refunded their ‘Win’ bets on Jimmy Choux up to $250.
2011 Cox Plate Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 8 – 22/10/2011
|1st||11||PINKER PINKER(11)||Craig Williams||Greg Eurell||55.5||2-5.39|
|2nd||5||JIMMY CHOUX(9)||Jonathan Riddell||John Bary||57.5||1.3L|
|3rd||9||REKINDLED INTEREST(3)||Dwayne Dunn||Jim Conlan||57.5||1.5L|
|4th||3||WALL STREET(7)||Darren Beadman||Jeff Lynds||59.0||1.8L|
|5th||12||SECRET ADMIRER(8)||Brenton Avdulla||Grahame Begg||55.5||1.9L|
|6th||1||EFFICIENT(5)||Steven King||Robert Hickmott||59.0||3.9L|
|7th||13||KING’S ROSE(2)||Luke Nolen||Peter G Moody||55.5||4.3L|
|8th||14||HELMET(10)||Kerrin McEvoy||Peter Snowden||49.5||4.4L|
|9th||6||SINCERO(6)||Chris O’Brien||Stephen Farley||57.5||6.4L|
|10th||4||GLASS HARMONIUM(4)||Damien Oliver||Michael Moroney||59.0||6.6L|
|11th||8||PLAYING GOD(13)||Steven Parnham||Neville Parnham||57.5||6.8L|
|12th||10||SHAMROCKER(1)||Steven Arnold||Danny O’Brien||55.5||8.8L|
|13th||15||AVIENUS(12)||Brad Rawiller||Mark Webb||57.0||9.8L|
|14th||7||LION TAMER(14)||Hugh Bowman||Murray Baker||57.5||10.8L|
|Src||2||DESCARADO||Nash Rawiller||Gai Waterhouse|
|Src||16||YOSEI||Michelle Payne||Stuart Webb|