Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien hadn’t saddled-up a horse down under since a disastrous 2008 Melbourne Cup, but this spring he sent star youngster Adelaide over for the Cox Plate 2014 and the raider didn’t disappoint looping the field to win in near record time.
Always a big danger in this year’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), the northern-hemisphere three-year-old son of Galileo went out at Moonee Valley today as a drifting $8 chance and did it the tough way.
It was a gutsy effort then from the Ryan Moore-ridden Adelaide who was having just his eighth career start after debuting only a year ago with a big win at Leopardstown over the mile.
He was the widest runner and took off a long way from home but continued to come for them and on the line hand a short-head to spare over the race favourite Fawkner ($4.60) to give the track record a scare.
The forgotten mare in the race, four-time Group 1 winning Kiwi Silent Achiever ($26) then ran a cracking third in a busy photo finish a further half-head back.
“He’s a very good horse,” Moore said post-win.
“He’s done it the hard way.
“Usually the best horse wins and sometimes the best horse has to do it a bit tougher.”
Two starts back Adelaide posted his first elite level win in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (2011m) at Arlington in the USA before a last start third in the Group 2 Prix Niel (2400m) in France on September 14.
Working well at Werribee in the lead-up to the Cox Plate, today the galloper was ridden cold early sitting right off the pace set by the likes of Tassie frontrunner The Cleaner who eventually crossed ninth for Mick Burles, and Gai Waterhouse’s two three-year-old hopes Wandjina and Almalad who finished 10th and 13th respectively.
Caught four deep at the 1600m The Cleaner had to work to get across and lead with 2010 Cox Plate winning hoop Steven Arnold aboard.
Adelaide then started his run a long, long way out moving up fast at the 800 metres, The Cleaner putting his foot down and winding up at the same time.
Approaching the turn for home the Robert Hickmott-trained Fawkner came with his run while the eventual Cox Plate winner Adelaide was on a mission round the outside in a swooping run, and the Roger James-trained Silent Achiever came home well.
There were no excuses for the beaten favourite Fawkner, the ninth favourite in 11 years to go down in a Cox Plate, after he got away well and settled in a nice trail behind the leading quartet.
He was brave in defeat but went down to the better horse on the day with Adelaide on the outside in a fearless and unforgiving run to win in 2.03.76 just two tenths of a second outside of Might And Power’s 1998 record.
“Things were against him but he’s still done it,” the winning Cox Plate hoop added.
“This horse has shown what a good colt he is.
“He’s been around the world all year and to come out here and wind it up.”
It was a truly exciting Cox Plate finish too with plenty of chances lining up behind the winner today, who was outstanding carrying 56kg in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
The best of the rest included the Andrew Balding-trained UK visitor Side Glance who won the Mackinnon Stakes last year and was only half a length away fifth today followed by Foreteller and last year’s runner-up Happy Trails all under a length off the winner.
Owned by Coolmore, Adelaide will call Australia home moving forward and stay on here with Chris Waller who saddled up three beaten hopes in today’s Cox Plate field with the aforementioned Foreteller (5th), Sacred Falls (11th) and Royal Descent (12th).
His major target next year will be the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney next April.
There is still a chance Fawkner could back-up in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November so stay tuned.
In the meantime get behind your next spring selections online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $3 million Mega Pick this season!
2014 Cox Plate Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 8 – 25/10/2014
|1||11||ADELAIDE (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore||–||13||56kg||$8|
|2||2||FAWKNER||Robert Hickmott||Nicholas Hall||0.2L||4||59kg||$4.40F|
|3||9||SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ)||Roger James||Nash Rawiller||0.3L||11||57kg||$26|
|4||3||SIDE GLANCE (GB)||Andrew Balding||James Spencer||0.5L||7||59kg||$21|
|5||5||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||0.6L||1||59kg||$31|
|6||4||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Damien Oliver||0.7L||2||59kg||$12|
|7||8||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||James McDonald||1.45L||6||57.5kg||$6|
|8||13||SWEYNESSE||John O’Shea||Chad Schofield||1.85L||12||49.5kg||$17|
|9||6||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles||Steven Arnold||3.35L||14||59kg||$15|
|10||14||WANDJINA||Gai Waterhouse||Dean Yendall||3.55L||5||49.5kg||$31|
|11||1||SACRED FALLS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Zac Purton||6.55L||9||59kg||$8.50|
|12||10||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||8.55L||3||57kg||$11|
|13||12||ALMALAD||Gai Waterhouse||Craig Newitt||28.55L||8||49.5kg||$31|
|FF||7||GUEST OF HONOUR (IRE)||Marco Botti||Craig Williams||–||10||59kg||$81|