Glen Boss may have been in the grandstand and not the saddle of Royal Descent for her breakfast with the best gallop at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Tuesday morning, but from what he saw the mare is ready to peak in Saturday’s Cox Plate 2014.
Boss will ride the Chris Waller-trained daughter of Redoute’s Choice in this year’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) back at the Valley but this morning it was rival hoop Hugh Bowman who put the five-year-old through her paces.
Bowman was aboard Royal Descent last start when she posted her fourth straight second place finish, this time behind stable mate He’s Your Man in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 4.
One of three in the 14-starter Cox Plate field this year for Waller along with George Main Stakes winner Sacred Falls ($6.50) and veteran eight-year-old Forteller ($21), Royal Descent is an $11 chance in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Those Cox Plate odds are led by Fawkner ($4) who won the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11.
Saturday Royal Descent races at Moonee Valley for the first time and has her first Melbourne start since a brave fifth behind the Robert Hickmott-trained Fawkner when defeated under two lengths in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last October.
It’s been a frustrating season for the mare then as she’s come close to victory on four occasions, and Boss is confident from what he saw in her work today that she can be competitive once again in her first run outside of Sydney this time in.
“She wasn’t out to break any records and Hughie has had a lot more to do with her than I have so he could give much better feedback to Chris (Waller) and the connections,” Boss told TVN.
“It was just good to sit in the stands and watch her gallop, she looks in terrific order, she looks to be peaking for Saturday to my eye.”
Royal Descent is drawn in barrier three for Saturday, the same gate that produced last year’s Cox Plate winner Shamus Award.
Before him the last Cox Plate champ to jump from gate three was Northerly (2001) for the first of his eventual two wins in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
Along with a good gate, having Boss onboard is also statistically an advantage for Waller’s mare as the hoop boasts three Cox Plate wins having ridden Makybe Diva (2005), So You Think (2009) and most recently Ocean Park (2012) to victory in the classic.
While not on Royal Descent in the Cox Plate, Bowman is still in the mix for Saturday partnering the David Payne-trained Criterion in the race.
The Sebring four-year-old is one of three other single figure hopes in Cox Plate betting following Fawkner paying $8.50 to win his third Group 1 trophy.
Runner-up in the Caulfield Stakes last time out Criterion took out the Rosehill Guineas – ATC Derby double as a three-year-old and looks to become the first Derby winner to back up and complete the double with the Cox Plate since Bonecrusher (1986).
To back Royal Descent to win the Cox Plate at the best price make sure you have an account with Ladbrokes.com.au where your $3 Megapick wager on the winners of races two – eight at Moonee Valley on Saturday could win you $3 million!