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The 2014 Cox Plate final field was announced this morning with a maximum field of 14 being accepted for the $3 million feature race at Moonee Valley Racecourse this Saturday.
There were two notable omissions from the field with neither Mourinho nor Chivalry making the cut for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Connections of the seven-year-old Mourinho paid the late entry fee following his Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) win on October 12th, convinced the gelding had it in him to run in the Cox Plate, over the same distance.
However the team was disappointed when he was passed over for the Cox Plate, especially considering who made it onto the final field.
Manny Gelagotis described the omission as disappointing and was shocked that a horse like Mourinho, with a rating of 106, could be overlooked in favour of Gai Waterhouse’s Wandjina, with a rating of 90.
Speaking to TVN, the stable manager said: “”My owners should feel disappointed.”
Moonee Valley Racing Club chairman Bob Scarborough, who deliberated over the final field this morning with his fellow committee members, said the decision was a difficult one.
There were “lengthy discussions” had over Mourinho, but the fact that at seven years of age he had never raced at Group One level was too big of a count against him while Wandjina held on for a strong third place finish in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) last time out.
“[Mourinho] certainly enjoys Moonee Valley but at the highest level we felt that he didn’t warrant a run,” Scarborough said to TVN.
“[Wandjina’s] run in the Caulfield Guineas when coming from last to run third rating 112 was worthy of inclusion.
“We compared it to So You Think’s inclusion in the Cox Plate as a three-year-old when he finished fourth in the Guineas.
“Wandjina’s form exceeded So You Think’s and his performance exceeded that of Shamus Award last year in the Guineas.”
Fawkner retained $4 favouritism in the 2014 Cox Plate Odds at Ladbrokes.com.au following a favourable draw in barrier four. Wandjina is currently offering $34.
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