With Cox Plate 2013 time fast approaching, the weight-for-age classic to run as Moonee Valley Race 10 at 5:40pm (AEST), the punters are starting to come for three-year-old Long John who will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy chasing Australian racing’s grand slam.
Prices in the markets for this afternoon’s $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) have eased on the top three in betting.
All drifting in the markets are Murray Baker’s Underwood champ It’s A Dundeel, suspended Glen Boss’s Cox Plate tip Puissance De Lune and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente.
While those three are losing the punters’ love, money has been steady for the Darley-owned Street Cry gelding Long John.
Firming right in from $8.50 to $7, or $14 if you take them at Ladbrokes.com.au’s ‘Double The Cox Plate Odds’ markets, the three-year-old is facing a genuine acid test after taking out the Caulfield Guineas last time out.
Despite the fact that three-year-olds have only won 19 editions of the Cox Plate, and many stars have failed including Pierro and last year’s Caulfield Guineas winner All Too Hard who ran two-three behind four-year-old Ocean Park last year, they are coming for Long John to buck the trend.
They have to break a hoodoo that has stood for nearly three decades to do so however with the last Caulfield Guineas winner to back-up and win the Cox Plate being Red Anchor in 1984.
McEvoy is really hoping the horse can do just that however after he’s worked incredibly hard to shed four kilograms to ride them at the 49.5kg required under the weight-for-age conditions.
If Long John does emerge as the Cox Plate winner it will have been a sacrifice well worth it for McEvoy who will have then completed the grand slam of Australian racing.
He’s already snared the Melbourne Cup with Brew (2000), the Caulfield Cup with All The Good (2008) and the Golden Slipper with Sepoy (2011) with only the Cox Plate remaining.
He will also join an elite list that has only seven jockeys on it to date that won all four races at least once – Neville Sellwood, Pat Hyland, Roy Higgins, Mick Dittman, Jim Cassidy, Damien Oliver and Chris Munce.
There’s not only the historical hoodoo standing between Long John, McEvoy and the Cox Plate trophy however.
It will also be the youngster’s first look at further than a mile.
However McEvoy’s instinct tells him Long John can step up to the 2040m.
“One thing about him is he’s tough and hardy, which his record shows,” McEvoy said.
“I’d be surprised if he doesn’t enjoy it (the distance). I’m not going there confident we’re going to win, but we’re going to go there confident we’ve got a nice horse that, given everything falling right, is going to be a good chance.”
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