Gai Waterhouse has excused Almalad’s well beaten loss in the Caulfield Guineas last time out and is pressing onto the Cox Plate 2014 Saturday week with the Group 1 winning three-year-old.
Last weekend start the Al Maher gelding failed to feature in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) when weakening badly in the straight and finishing seven lengths away eight to the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained winner Shooting To Win.
Winner of the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) as a two-year-old at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, Almalad had been building towards the Caulfield Guineas well.
A second-up fourth to the unbeaten Hallowed Crown in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) in Sydney was followed by his Melbourne debut at Moonee Valley on September 26 that produced a one and three-quarter length victory in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m).
Almalad then drew poorly for the Guineas with the outside barrier (13) and it was this, and the hard work the youngster had to do early in the mile classic that excused his disappointing finish according to Waterhouse.
“I think he just went too hard in front and had to do a lot of work from the barrier,” Waterhouse told TVN this week.
The plan all season has been to run in the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, and Waterhouse said she saw enough in his latest run to continue with those plans.
“The plan has always been to run in the Cox Plate and I’m not going to change that, I think it is best to stick to our plan,” she said.
“If the horse performed badly, I wouldn’t press on but I think he had excuses in the Caulfield Guineas.
“He has come through the run as well as I could have liked.”
In the latest Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au Almalad pays $41 along with fellow three-year-olds Chivalry and Sweynesse all out to go back-to-back for their age group after Shamus Award’s victory as a maiden 12 months ago.
There’s also a chance Waterhouse and connections will pay the hefty $130,000 late entry fee to get Hampton Court into the Cox Plate field after the fellow three-year-old won the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in Sydney last Saturday.
“I’m not saying no,” Waterhouse said.
“He has come down to Melbourne and settled in nicely so far, I just want to see how he is in the next couple of days.”
Backing up from a Dulcify Quality victory the previous Saturday, the Redoute’s Choice colt handled the step up in class and distance as well as the seven day turnaround to storm home and defeat the odds-on favourite First Seal and the also well fancied Sweynesse for a Spring Champion upset by two and a half lengths.
Waterhouse won her maiden Melbourne Cup last spring and this year will be shooting for her breakthrough Cox Plate trophy as well.
To get behind Waterhouse to win the Cox Plate 2014, visit Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll find all the spring’s premier futures racing markets!