The Moonee Valley Racing Club’s chief executive Michael Browell has named French galloper Galio Chop as the most likely international horse to accept an invitation into the 2015 Cox Plate field this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Earlier in the month the MVRC extended a dozen invites out to the connections of top international gallopers to come down under this October and contest the lucrative $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
Last year the then Aidan O’Brien-trained four-year-old Irish visitor Adelaide who became the first northern hemisphere trained Cox Plate winner in the race’s history.
Now the MVRC are hoping for a stronger international presence in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship than ever before, with Browell naming a trio of the invited 12 as the best chances of making the trip.
“I think out of the ones we’ve invited there’s probably three legitimate chances to come through,” he told AAP.
The most likely to compete in the ‘race where legends are made’ according to Browell is the Antoine de Watrigant-trained Galio Chop, the OTI-raced Group 1 runner-up last seen finishing a disappointing eighth behind Free Eagle in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last week.
Browell is also hoping Hong Kong champions and multiple Group 1 winners Dan Excel and Military Attack are part of this year’s Cox Plate make-up after the duo ran first and second in last month’s Singapore Airlines International Cup.
“The two key ones that I’m keen to get some feedback on will be Military Attack and Dan Excel,” Browell said.
“We had Dan Excel in the country last year and he had some throat issues which ended up in surgery.
“He’s returned to winning form in Singapore.”
Dan Excel also ran third to Able Friend in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin in early May, the winner of which currently leads the latest all-in Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Able Friend pays $7 through Ladbrokes.com.au to take out the Cox Plate on October 24 this spring while Galio Chop is at $17 in the futures markets and Dan Excel pays $26 along with fellow Hong Kong hero Military Attack.
Along with Browell’s tipped improver Galio Chop, other horses invited for the Cox Plate to run at Royal Ascot in England this month include Queen Anne Stakes winner Solow, a race Able Friend was unplaced in, and Free Eagle who narrowly beat home The Great Gatsby in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
“The Grey Gatsby and Free Eagle were top class,” Browell said.
“We’d love to get Free Eagle out (for the Spring) and we’ll work hard to do that.
“But probably the most likely out of the runners at Royal Ascot is Gailo Chop.
“He didn’t settle that well in the first half of the race and probably did his chances no good at all.”
Browell also said that there could be more Cox Plate invitations extended over the coming weeks.
“We’ll see what else comes through in the next month and if need be we’ll issue some more invitations,” he added.
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