Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
He’s a four-time Group 1 winner over a mile in both Australia and New Zealand but can the Chris Waller-trained Sacred Falls break his 2000m duck with an upset in the 2014 Cox Plate on Saturday?
A final field of 14 faces off in this weekend’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse including three from the four-time Sydney premiership winning stables of Chris Waller.
Waller saddles up his ultra-consistent mare Royal Descent from barrier three with Glen Boss in the saddle, veteran galloper Foreteller on the rails with Tommy Berry to ride and Sacred Falls in gate nine with last weekend’s Caulfield Cup winning hoop Zac Purton staying on.
The best fancied of Waller’s Cox Plate contingent is O’Reilly five-year-old Sacred Falls at an easing price of $7.50 (out from $6).
He trails only last start Caulfield Stakes winner Fawkner ($4.50) and Aidan O’Brien’s Irish raider Adelaide ($6.50) in the latest Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Originally raced in New Zealand, where Waller hails from, under the preparation of Tony Pike & Mark Donoghue Sacred Falls won the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) in November of 2012.
On Aussie soil he’s added another three Group 1 wins over a mile winning the Doncaster Mile in 2013 and 2014 as well as the George Main Stakes at Randwick, with Purton in the saddle, on September 20.
Purton also rode Sacred Falls last time out when beaten 2.5 lengths by Saturday’s Cox Plate fancy Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11.
Sacred Falls had the outside barrier 12 draw that day and was blocked for a run near the turn before making up notable ground over the closing stages.
On Saturday then he’s in line for a clearer run from a better barrier, but the 2040m remains the query.
He’s been up over the distance twice before when fourth last time out and second behind It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April, also drawn in barrier 12 of 12 that day.
So can Sacred Falls win over further than a mile for the first time and hand Waller with his maiden Cox Plate trophy?
Cox Plate Horse Form: #1 Sacred Falls
- Barrier: 9
- Weight: 59kg
- Jockey: Zac Purton
- Trainer: Chris Waller
- Owners: Raffles Thoroughbred Racing, Mr G J Chittick
- Age: 5YO
- Gender: Stallion
- Breeding: by O’Reilly (NZ) from Iguazu’s Girl (NZ)
- Career: 23-9-2-1
- Win: 39%
- Place: 52%
- Last 6: 2×4414
- Prize Money: $4,678,237
- Track: 1-0-0-1
- Distance: 3-0-2-0
- Current 2014 Cox Plate Odds: $7.50
Why Sacred Falls Can Win the 2014 Cox Plate
- Last two starts over 2000m he jumped from the outside barrier 12 but gets gate nine on Saturday
- The last Cox Plate winner from barrier nine was only two years ago with Ocean Park winning in 2012 – before him however it was Surfers Paradise (1991)
- Zac Purton continues his association aboard for his two most recent starts including the George Main Stakes victory two back
- Purton is in good form having won the Caulfield Cup last weekend
- Is a four-time Group 1 winner over the mile
- A dual Doncaster Mile winner
- Has won over $4.6 million in prize money
- Two starts over 2000m were both luckless
- Last start fourth to Fawkner in the Caulfield Stakes was close and he was blocked for a run
- Is the best fancied of Waller’s three Cox Plate hopes
- Entires have a good recent record with two wins in the past four years – Ocean Park (2012) and So You Think (2010) who also won as a three-year-old colt the previous year
- Last year’s Cox Plate winner Shamus Award came off a third in his lead-up run as does Sacred Falls
- Third at the track in the Crystal Mile last year
Why Sacred Falls Won’t Win the Cox Plate 2014
- His trainer Chris Waller is yet to prepare a Cox Plate winner but has saddled up only two previous runners in the race
- Zac Purton has never ridden a horse in the Cox Plate
- No five-year-old has won the Cox Plate since Northerly (2001) who won again as a six-year-old the following year
- Only has a moderate win (39%) and place (52%) rate
- Was beaten 2.5 lengths by Fawkner last start when third in the Caulfield Stakes
- Hasn’t raced at Moonee Valley in 12 months
Think Sacred Falls can beat the favourite in the Cox Plate?
Back him now at Ladbrokes.com.au and enjoy a bonus bet valued up to a juicy $500 with the country’s leading online sportsbook this spring!
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