On Saturday Gai Waterhouse will saddle up three hopefuls in the Cox Plate 2012 and while eight-time Group 1 winning mare More Joyous is the most experienced of the trio, she is also at the juiciest odds.
Betting markets for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), running as Moonee Valley Race 8 at 5:15pm, are led by easing $4.20 favourite Pierro – the three-year-old Lonhro colt having won all but one of their nine starts to date.
Waterhouse will also be represented by $9 fancy Proisir, another youngster beaten as the odds-on favourite in their last run.
Further down the Cox Plate odds punters can find six-year-old More Than Ready mare More Joyous who despite being a genuine turf champion is paying a generous $13 to add a ninth elite level trophy to her record.
More Joyous has had three runs this time in and while she had an easy go in the opening two she ran fourth to Solzhenitsyn as the beaten favourite in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) last time out.
It was always going to be a tough ask from More Joyous in the Toorak however as she carried the 60kg topweight and getting back to weight-for-age conditions on Saturday will be to her advantage.
While More Joyous failed to come within 4.5 lengths of the winner So You Think when she contested the Cox Plate two years ago, Waterhouse is confident she is a better chance this time round.
Waterhouse copped lots of slack for drawing barrier 11 when given the pick of the bunch for More Joyous in the Cox Plate gates this week, but there are still plenty on the mare’s bandwagon including rival jockey Glen Boss.
“My job is to win the race and I think she has a terrific barrier, I think it will work to her advantage. She is best away from the fence, it is no good getting cluttered up in a Cox Plate,” Waterhouse said.
Boss meanwhile has the ride on flying four-year-old Ocean Park ($5.50) in the Cox Plate, and while he said he wouldn’t swap his horse for any other, he did rate More Joyous as an underrated rival who would be hard to beat.
“I haven’t written off More Joyous,” Boss wrote on Fox Sports.
“I mean, take a step back. This is the Cox Plate, a race won by champions. Who is the established, proven champion in this field? More Joyous.
“I didn’t think she was disappointing in the Toorak. She had two virtual trials in Sydney, then was challenged with her big weight in the Toorak.
“If anything, I reckon she will really improve off it.
“I’m not sure why Gai chose barrier 11, but I’m sure she had her reasons; maybe to give Nash (Rawiller) a good look inside him as he crossed over.”
So can More Joyous get the job done from the controversial barrier 11 draw? Below we take a look at the evidence for and against a Cox Plate win by More Joyous.
#10 More Joyous – Horse Facts
- Jockey: Nash Rawiller
- Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
- Owners: Strawberry Hill Stud
- Age: 6YO
- Gender: Mare
- Breeding: by More Than Ready (USA) out of Sunday Silence (USA) mare Sunday Joy (AUS)
- Career: 29-21-0-2
- Win: 72.41%
- Place: 79.31%
- Last 6: 11×114
- Prize Money: $4,490,450
- Track: 2-0-0-1
- Distance: 2-1-0-0
- Current 2012 Cox Plate Odds: $13
Why More Joyous Can Win the 2012 Cox Plate
- Will appreciate coming off 60kg in the Toorak Handicap to the 57kg under weight-for-age conditions on Saturday
- Is an eight time Group 1 winner boasting plenty of class
- Has a wealth of experience over some of the top fancies most notably her young stablemate Pierro
- While the barrier 11 draw by Waterhouse is controversial it will give the mare room to run
- She won the Doncaster Mile, arguably her best victory to date, earlier this year from barrier 10 of 19 beating a field of Cox Plate rivals including Shoot Out (2nd) and Sincero (4th)
- Last year’s Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker also draw barrier 11 and was the sixth mare in history to win a cumulative nine Cox Plates
- Awesome winning strike rate of 72.41% (third best of the field) with 21 wins from 29 starts
- Has won four of her past five starts
- Highest earner in the field
Why More Joyous Won’t be the Cox Plate 2012 Winner
- Is barrier 11 the best gate for her? The last time she jumped from wider than 10 was her seventh from barrier 12 (of 15) in the 2011 Myer Classic
- Neither Gai Waterhouse nor Nash Raillwer has won a Cox Plate before
- Yet to win at Moonee Valley
- Distance is a worry as she has had just two starts over the 2000m for one win
- Her other run was in the 2010 Cox Plate when she could only manage to finish fifth to dual winner So You Think
- Mares have won the Cox Plate just nine times
- She comes off the wrong lead-up having run in the Toorak Handicap as only one Cox Plate winner in the past 30 years, Fields Of Omagh (2003) won the Cox Plate off a run in the Toorak
Think More Joyous could score an upset Cox Plate win over her better fancied stablemates?
Head to bookmaker.com.au and place your Cox Plate bets at the guaranteed best prices in all of the spring’s features at the 100 percent Aussie owned and operated bookie.