Ace Aussie hoop Craig Williams is keen to jump back in the saddle of the Lloyd Williams-owned import Green Moon who will take on a couple of smart three-year-olds under weight-for-age conditions in Saturday’s 2012 Cox Plate.
Williams won the Caulfield Cup – Cox Plate double last spring with smart mares Southern Speed and Pinker Pinker respectively and looks on track to do it again in 2012 having already ridden this year’s Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden to a brilliant win in the opening leg last Saturday.
This weekend it’s the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and for that Williams will be aboard last year’s Caulfield Cup runner-up Green Moon.
The Montjeu five-year-old has had Williams in the saddle for their past four runs including their last start victory in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 6.
“I’ve done every major piece of work on him,” Williams said on Monday.
“Even eight weeks ago I knew the Cox Plate was his target.
“He is a tough and solid horse and it will be an intriguing race with the three-year-olds.”
Having drawn ideally with barrier five in the 14-horse Cox Plate 2012 field, connections able to pick their own gates for the Cox Plate barrier draw on Tuesday morning, Green Moon is second favourite in the classic behind Gai Waterhouse’s flying three-year-old Pierro – a horse Williams was originally booked to ride.
Under the WFA conditions Williams will ride Green Moon on 59kg while Lonhro colt Pierro will meet them an advantageous 9.5kg better with Corey Brown wasting to ride the triple Group 1 champ at 49.5kg from barrier seven – a gate that has produced more Cox Plate winners than any other barrier in history.
Pierro isn’t the only lightly-weighted young gun to watch in the 2012 Cox Plate either.
The only horse to defeat Pierro to date, Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard has also been thrown into the mix, Chris Munce to ride them from their nice barrier three draw.
The Hawkes-trained Casino Prince colt broke their Group 1 maiden status last time out when getting the better of odds-on favourite Pierro as an $11 chance in the Caulfield Guineas.
Waterhouse will also saddle up her Choisir three-year-old Proisir from barrier 10, one inside of her eight-time Group 1 winning mare More Joyous.
If successful in scoring an upset Cox Plate result on Saturday Williams will be one step closer to making history as the only jockey to win the spring grand slam in a single season with the 2012 Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November on the horizon.
Williams missed the winning Melbourne Cup ride aboard Dunaden due to suspension 12 months ago, but has been confirmed to continue his association with the French-trained champ this time.
“I came into this carnival thinking I had a great affinity with him,” Williams said of Dunaden.
“I have an affinity with Green Moon as well.
“They are just horses that give you that feeling all the time, they just keep raising the bar.
“I’m now looking forward to Saturday to ride Green Moon in the Cox Plate.”
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