The Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish raider Highland Reel is the current favourite in Cox Plate 2015 betting following the field and barrier draw for Australasia’s weight-for-age racecourse that runs at Moonee Valley this Saturday in Melbourne.
Three international raiders invited into this year’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), which attracted a capacity field of 14 hopefuls, led by O’Brien’s Galileo stallion Highland Reel.
Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival O’Brien won the Cox Plate with the then Irish-trained Adelaide (2014) and this season he returns with another livewire hope, Highland Reel a winner of four of his nine starts to date.
Winner of the Group 1 Secretariat Stakes (2012m) at Arlington in the USA in mid-August, the four-year-old comes off a Group 1 fifth over the same distance back home from September 12 and is drawn in barrier four for his down under debut in the Cox Plate.
Last year’s Cox Plate winning jockey Ryan Moore also returns shooting for back-to-back wins as a hoop for the first time since Greg Childs secured successive wins aboard the mighty mare Sunline (1999-2000).
Barrier four meanwhile last produced a Cox Plate winner 10 years ago with triple Melbourne Cup winning mare Makybe Diva (20050 getting the job done as the odds-on favourite.
Hot on his heels then is the best fancied of the locals, internationally performed weight-for-age star Criterion ($6) prepared by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig.
Criterion had three runs overseas over the summer before returning in Australia last time out on October 10 to win the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), his third win from 11 starts over the distance.
Ocean Park (2012) was the last horse to complete the Caulfield Stakes – Cox Plate double Sebring five-year-old Criterion shoots for this weekend from barrier seven that has produced three of the past 10 Cox Plate winners, most recently So You Think for his first in 2009.
Michael Walker retains the ride on Criterion, his first ride in a Cox Plate field.
Three other hopes are under $10 in the Cox Plate odds as this sit post-barrier draw including the best fancied of Sydney trainer Chris Waller’s trio Winx ($7.50).
Drawn the rails in barrier one, which hasn’t produced a winner in over 30 years, the flying four-year-old daughter of Street Cry has won her four most recent runs including Group 1 victories in Brisbane’s Queensland Oaks during the winter and her last start Epsom Handicap success over the Randwick mile on October 3.
Along with Winx, who has Hugh Bowman in the saddle on Saturday, Waller will also saddle-up Group 1 winners Kermadec and Preferment from barriers 10 and nine.
Triple Cox Plate winning hoop Glen Boss rides recent George Main Stakes winning Teofilo stallion Kermadec, the four-year-old coming off a fourth to Criterion in the Caulfield Stakes.
Last year’s Victoria Derby winner Preferment meanwhile in barrier nine, which Ocean Park jumped from to win only three years ago, is shooting for his third 2000m win on the trot and was last seen taking out Flemington’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on October 4.
He has Nash Rawiller in the saddle after his original booked hoop Blake Shinn copped an eight-meeting careless riding suspension for his Seymour Cup ride last Sunday – Preferment a $13 Cox Plate hope.
The next best fancied of the double figure hopes in the latest Cox Plate betting markets are Robert Hickmott’s runner-up to Adelaide last year Fawkner ($15), the John O’Shea-trained BMW winner from the autumn Hartnell ($15) and stablemate Complacent ($17) who missed out on a run as a Caulfield Cup emergency last weekend.
See below for the latest Cox Plate 2015 odds available at Ladbrokes.com.au who are also offering an Extra 50% on your very first Fixed Odds winner in Races 1 – 5 on Saturday at Moonee Valley!