The second of the ‘Big 3’ Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival features headlines the action at Moonee Valley Racecourse this weekend with the Cox Plate 2014 stealing the show, betting tips and first three selections on the event found below.
In the latest Ladbrokes.com.au markets for this year’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) it is last start Caulfield Stakes winner Fawkner who is the easing favourite.
After opening as short as $4 earlier in the week the Robert Hickmott-trained seven-year-old has continued to drift out in betting and now pays $4.60 to become the first of his age group since Makybe Diva (2005) to take out the Cox Plate.
Triple Melbourne Cup champion Makybe Diva was also the last Cox Plate winner to jump from barrier four which is the gate Nicholas Hall will ride the top fancy from this weekend.
Also at single figures in the current Cox Plate odds are the likes of Aidan O’Brien’s visiting Irish galloper Adelaide ($6.50), the David Payne-trained four-year-old Criterion ($7) who won the Rosehill Guineas – ATC Derby double last season and Chris Waller’s triple Group 1 winning miler Sacred Falls ($7.50) after his breakthrough win over the distance.
So will the Cox Plate winner come from one of these top fancies paying under $10 to win?
Or is there a genuine upset Cox Plate result to come from the likes of last year’s narrow runner-up Happy Trails ($12), Waller’s flying mare Royal Descent ($11) in barrier three for the race’s most successful jockey Glen Boss, four-time Group 1 winning New Zealand mare Silent Achiever ($14), in-form Tasmanian visitor and track specialist The Cleaner ($15) or market mover Sweynesse ($16) whose price has been slashed in from $34 when betting opened?
#1 Sacred Falls ($7.50)
This is a star-studded Cox Plate field with a host of livewire and nice value chances, but for mine it is Waller’s triple Group 1 winner who will be first past the post. Waller has three chances to break his Cox Plate maiden status and this O’Reilly stallion is the shortest priced of them despite being on the drift in betting. His three Group 1 victories have all been over the 1600m in Sydney so he needs to handle extra metres in Melbourne here, but he’s got the class to do it. Two back won the George Main Stakes then was a fast finishing fourth behind Fawkner in the Caulfield Stakes. Will be improving off that, Zac Purton stays on and the in-form hoop shoots for back-to-back majors after the winning Caulfield Cup ride last Saturday. Same lead-up to that he had during the autumn when runner-up to It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) over this distance. Defeated under a length that day from a wide barrier, is travelling better this time and barrier nine should suit. Will be just off the speed set by the likes of The Cleaner and Side Glance and should get a nice trail into the race to finish off strong.
#10 Royal Descent ($11)
Going for the Waller Cox Plate quinella with perennial runner-up Royal Descent to do what she does best, run second behind a stable mate in a Group 1! She was second to Sacred Falls in this year’s Doncaster Mile during the autumn and in the George Main two back. She’s had four runs at Randwick this time in and finished second best is all of them including the Epsom Handicap behind, you got it, another stable mate when just a nose separated her and French import He’s Your Man on October 4. She’s drawn to win here and Boss shoots for his fourth Cox Plate win. Distance is the query but if she can follow Sacred Falls again could surprise at a nice price.
#6 The Cleaner ($15)
Going for value over the worth favourite (Fawkner), the promising raider (Adelaide) and the in-form four-year-old (Criterion) and think this cult Tassie galloper can continue his fairytale run with a top three Cox Plate finish here. Jumps from the outside barrier, which hasn’t produced a Cox Plate winner in over 30 years, but the form is too good to ignore. The Mick Burles-trained seven-year-old has won four from six at the track, and run top three in the other two, plus comes off three straight at Moonee Valley. Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes win two back then the JRA Cup over this track and distance on September 26. Has had a four week freshen-up and has been set for this race.
To back our insider 2014 Cox Plate tips or lock in your own selections on the classic at the hottest odds visit Ladbrokes.com.au where you can also enjoy a $500 bonus bet, access to their Favourite vs Field markets on all the Moonee Valley races plus the chance to win $3 million with their MegaPick promo!
*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change