Like many of the runners in the $250,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) field at Ascot Racecourse this Saturday, the Adam Durrant-trained Mr Moet is using the weight-for-age showdown as a lead up to next month’s Perth Cup 2014.
A dozen stayers are accepted for the 2013 CB Cox Stakes on the weekend, markets for which are led by Group 1 winners Luckygray and Ihtsahmn.
Fred Kersley’s star three-year-old Ihtsahymn got the better of Trevor Andrews’ six-year-old Luckygray last time out when the duo ran one-two in the Group 1 Kingston Town Stakes (1800m).
Despite carrying 59kg to Ihtsahmn’s 51kg under the conditions of the CB Cox Stakes this weekend, it is Luckygray who is tipped to win the rematch paying $3.60 at the bookies.
Ihtsahymn meanwhile occupies the second line of CB Cox Stakes odds at a quote of $3.80.
Third pick in the markets is then another Group 1 champ, Mr Moet, at $4.60.
Drawn in gate three with Peter Hall to ride, Durrant’s interstate performing Mosayter gelding is after successive CB Cox Stakes wins having taken out the summer feature 12 months ago.
That came on the back of two very good Group 1 performances, Mr Moet having won the Railway Stakes first-up over the mile before their Kingston Town second.
They have serious improvement to pull out this year however if they are to go back-to-back in the Cox Stakes as they’ve run seventh and fifth respectively in the two lead-ups this year from wide gates.
Hall had to settle the horse dead last in both races, but hopes to have a turn of luck Saturday from the better barrier.
“It’s going to be tough against the three-year-old and Luckygray,” Hall said.
“Luckygray is flying at the moment. His acceleration is very good – quicker than Mr Moet’s.
“And Ihtsahymn gets in with the light weight again.
“But it’s finally nice to draw a barrier with Mr Moet.
“At least now with the good barrier, we can try to do something to beat the other two.”
Last summer after their Cox Stakes success Mr Moet stepped up to the mile and a half on New Year’s Day to run a brave second to Talent Show in the $500,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m).
They have the same aim on January 1 in 2014, the bookies currently rating them the $10 fourth pick in pre-field Perth Cup odds.
Rohan leads the futures markets at $4.60, Vaughn Sigley’s Kingston Town Classic third placegetter at $9 to take out Saturday’s Cox Stakes.
Durrant meanwhile could be dually represented in the upcoming Perth Cup field.
He and a syndicate of owners are looking seriously at paying the late entry fee to get new stable acquisition Marden into the mix.
The former Chris Waller-trained Danehill Dancer gelding won their fifth race from 37 career starts at Caulfield earlier in the month before being transferred from Sydney to Perth.
The European import arrived at Durrant’s Karnup base this week and is owned by a syndicate of 10 led by WA’s Neil Pinner and Fremantle’s former coach Mark Harvey.
While they’ve had just the one black type run to date, a sixth to Tremec in this year’s Randwick City Stakes, Durrant believes their Sydney class capable of stacking up to a Group 2 in WA.
He and the owners have until this Monday to decide whether the horse is worth the $11,000 late Perth Cup entry, but at this stage it is looking likely they will cough up the cash to get them in.
“That’s the plan, all going well,” Durrant told The West Australian.
“He’s travelled over beautifully and is eating up well. If he works well, we’ll put him in. He’s a consistent type and he’ll be competitive in cups races here.
“If he doesn’t go to the Perth Cup, there are plenty of other options.”
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