Irish horseman Aidan O’Brien is set to have another shot at one of the world’s most famous weight-for-age races confirming a nomination for his promising colt Adelaide when Cox Plate 2014 entries are taken this week.
Tuesday sees the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) close first nominations for the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), the Moonee Valley feature to run on October 25 as one of the ‘Big Three’ of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
There’s been plenty of international interest in the race this year including recent attention from O’Brien with his Galileo colt Adelaide who is yet to be added into the early Cox Plate odds Ladbrokes.com.au.
Lightly raced with just five starts on their record to date, already the Coolmore-owned Adelaide has made a huge impact overseas with a Grade 1 second place in the USA last month.
Having won two of their four lead-up runs, most notably a three length romp in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes (2011m) over Mekong River in May, they travelled outside of Europe on the back of a second to Eagle Top in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (2414m) from June 20.
Heading to America they went up to elite level for the first time on July 5 at Belmont Park where they finished a close second behind Mr Speaker in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (2011m).
Now O’Brien has Cox Plate ambitions with the youngster with connections at Coolmore keener than ever to secure a win in the race where their odds-on favourite Atlantic Jewel missed a run after injury just days out last year.
“I can confirm Adelaide has been entered for the Cox Plate,” Coolmore Australia‘s racing manager James Bester told The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday.
“They are still discussing if there will be any entries in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and I’m waiting to hear from Ballydoyle.”
Along with Adelaide Coolmore will have plenty of representation in the Cox Plate nominations from their Aussie hopefuls too including a host of Fastnet Rock colts.
Among those will be their Champagne Stakes runner-up Zululand, recent Geelong winner Wilderness and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Golden Slipper failure Valentia.
“Valentia, Zululand and Bull Point are Group-winning sons of Fastnet Rock, which makes them stallion prospects and we are hoping they can take the next step to Group 1 level this spring,” Bester said.
Zululand will also be leading their charge for the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11, nominations for which also close tomorrow afternoon.
“David Hayes is going to nominate Zululand and Wilderness, which broke his maiden at Geelong on Friday, for the Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate, as will Gai Waterhouse with Valentia,” Bester added.
“They are also in the Golden Rose.”
The $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) runs in Sydney at Rosehill Gardens on September 13.
“They have to prove they are good enough to get to that level but it is exciting to have horses that have improved from two to three and that are only going to get better,” Bester continued.
“At the moment, we would hope that one or two of them might be ready for the Golden Rose but Zululand and Valentia look like being mile [1600 metres] and beyond types.”
If O’Brien does come over with Adelaide it will be his first Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid since 2008.
It was a bitter end to his visit that year after he was forced to return from the airport to Flemington to answer queries over the race tactics and performance of a trio of his runners.
The year before however he enjoyed a better carnival raid, Mahler finishing third to Efficient in the 2007 Melbourne Cup.
Next start Adelaide is set to race in the USA again this time tackling the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (1900m) in Chicago Saturday week, August 16, on Arlington Millions Day.
Their performance there will determine whether he makes the trip down under, with the MVRC expressing interest in adding them to their international Cox Plate invitees list.
Bookmark us here at Races.com.au for Tuesday’s Caulfield Cup, Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate nominations.
Soon after our No. 1 recommended bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au will be releasing their updated markets on the above majors so make sure you have an account with them and are ready to go!