After making the 14-starter line up for Saturday’s 2015 Cox Plate field, Gai Waterhouse’s French import Pornichet drew barrier 11 giving the horse and his hoop Kerrin McEvoy a host of options in the Moonee Valley feature.
Due to jump as Moonee Valley Race 9, this year’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) has attracted a star-studded line-up – the roughie of which is Doomben Cup winner Pornichet.
A five-year-old son of Vespone, Pornichet pays $31 as the longest-priced hopeful in the Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, where punters will enjoy Best Tote or SP + 20% on all Cox Plate Day races this Saturday!
Winner of the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane back in early May, Waterhouse’s stallion will be her 21st runner in a Cox Plate field.
She has run second twice and third three times from those starters, but the Sydney-based Melbourne Cup winning trainer is yet to prepare a Cox Plate champion.
Saturday will be the eight year on the trot she has a hope in the Cox Plate and in that time her best results were Manhattan Rain (2nd to So You Think in 2009), Pierro (3rd to Ocean Park in 2012) and Fiorente (3rd to Shamus Award in 2013).
Waterhouse was also forced to scratch her 2011 Caulfield Cup winner Descarado in that year’s race with injury.
Now Pornichet will fly the Tulloch Lodge flag in the latest edition of Australasia’s weight-for-age championship as he looks to atone for his last place when eighth to Criterion in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in the lead-up a fortnight ago.
Yet to run at Moonee Valley, Pornichet was beaten over eight lengths in the Caulfield Stakes with McEvoy aboard and faces the winner of that in the Cox Plate with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion the $6 second favourite.
McEvoy also shoots for his maiden Cox Plate win on Pornichet who, if successful, will be the longest-priced winner in the clash since Dane Ripper who saluted at 40/1 back in 1997.
Pornichet has a double-digit draw for his Cox Plate test, barrier 11 last producing a winner in 2011 with Pinker Pinker.
Waterhouse said after Tuesday morning’s Cox Plate barrier draw at the Breakfast with the Best that she couldn’t be happier with the gate, which gave McEvoy the chance to ride the horse however the race panned out.
“It’s a great barrier,” she said.
“But the very important thing is Kerrin McEvoy has got a very open mind on how he’s going to be riding the horse.
“Depends how the horse jumps.
“If he’s keen to go forward, he should roll the dice. If he finds he relaxes beautifully, why wouldn’t you ride him off the speed?”
Highland Reel leads Cox Plate betting at $5 for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien who won last year with Adelaide and is one of three international raiders in the field Waterhouse is wary of.
“One of the European horses is an English winner leading all the way,” she said, speaking of Peter Chapple-Hyam’s $8.50 shot Arod who is undefeated at the distance
“You’ve got another of the English imports [Highland Reel] that was able to handle [English racecourse] Goodwood. That is very similar to Moonee Valley.”
Along with Pornichet the other equal $31 roughie shot looking for an upset Cox Plate result is Mourniho drawn one wider in 12 with Vlad Duric to ride the last start Underwood Stakes winner.
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