Peter Moody’s newest stable star Dissident has shot into equal favouritism to win the Cox Plate 2014 next month following his third Group 1 win over the weekend.
The Randwick Guineas winning son of Sebring is undefeated this time in as a four-year-old after going back-to-back at the highest level in Melbourne.
First-up the progressive stallion beat home a class field in a top effort at Caulfield when putting two and a half lengths on Sweet Idea in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
His brilliance was again on display then at Flemington over the weekend with a gritty short-head win over last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Having dug deep in the mile showdown, where last year’s runner-up Puissance De Lune settled for third, the bookies reacted with Ladbrokes.com.au slashing the price on Dissident to win the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“When he got challenged halfway up the running (by Fawkner) he lengthened stride and he showed the attributes of a really good horse,” winning jockey Ben Melham said post-win on Saturday.
Dissident now sits top of the Cox Plate odds at $11, equal with Roger James’s four-time Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Silent Achiever.
It’s a deserving price but one Moody is still not confident he will live up to in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship with queries over how Dissident will go over the distance.
“We will just give it time and let things settle,” Moody said from Sydney on Saturday.
His stable representative trackside in Melbourne, Jeff O’Connor, also wasn’t sure how far the Makbye Diva Stakes result went in proving Dissident a Cox Plate horse.
“I don’t think we learned a lot today about if he’s a Cox Plate horse or is he going to be more effective at a mile,” he said.
Melham rated him a chance but was also a little weary of the step up from a mile.
“He’s going to give himself every chance because he relaxes well,” he said.
“But whether he can physically stay the trip, I’m not sure.
“If he can produce a turn of foot like that at a mile and a quarter, the world’s his oyster.”
The Robert Hickmott-trained Reset seven-year-old Fawkner also firmed in Cox Plate betting after his effort and is now equal $13 second pick at Ladbrokes.com.au with Aiden O’Brien’s international hope Adelaide last seen winning the Group 1 Secretariat Stakes (2000m) in the USA back on August 16.
While Dissident and Fawkner surged to the top of Cox Plate markets, the Makybe Diva Stakes has been a poor guide to the Moonee Valley feature throughout history.
The only two Cox Plate winners in the past 30 years to come via the Makybe Diva are Northerly who completed the double in 2002, also winning the 2001 Cox Plate, and Almaarad (1989).
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