Ace Sydney horseman Chris Waller has a strong three-horse contingent lining up in Saturday’s 2015 Cox Plate where a toughly run edition of the Moonee Valley feature would best suit his Derby winner Preferment.
The 14-horse field for this year’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), running as Moonee Valley Race 9, features a trio from the Sydney stables of Waller who is yet to prepare a winner of Australasia’s weight-for-age classic.
In the latest Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who have Best Tote or SP + 20% on offer for all 10 Cox Plate Day races this Saturday, the best fancied of Waller’s three is Epsom Handicap winning mare Winx ($7.50) drawn the rails.
Dual Group 1 winner Kermadec, ridden by Glen Boss who is out to atone for his dead last aboard the fading pacesetter Royal Descent in last weekend’s Caulfield Cup, is the next best at $8 before Preferment pays $13 to win the Cox Plate for Waller.
Drawn in gate nine with Nash Rawiller replacing the suspended Blake Shinn in the saddle of the four-year-old Zabeel stallion, Preferment comes off his second Group 1 win in Melbourne having taken out the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
Now he goes into a Cox Plate field looking to become the fifth four-year-old in six years to win.
Waller has a livewire hope regardless of how this year’s Cox Plate is run, but said the best scenario for his longest-priced hope was a toughly run race.
“This is definitely the strongest hand I’ve ever had coming into a Cox Plate,” he told Racenet.
“I haven’t got one rated ahead of the others, it really will depend on how the race is run.
“A really tough run Cox Plate would suit Preferment and I expect that to be the case with The Cleaner leading and others applying pressure.”
While Shinn won’t be aboard on race day, he did put Preferment through his paces in a Moonee Valley track gallop on Tuesday morning and tipped him to run “a hell of a race” on Saturday.
“You could feel it with him,” Shinn said.
“He’s starting to know raceday is coming.
“He was very sharp. He handles the track no worries so I’ve got no concerns about that.
“He’s going to run a hell of a race. I wish I was on him.”
Shooting for her second Group 1 on the trot and looking become the first winner to come off an Epsom Handicap since Pinker Pinker (2nd in 2011), Winx jumps from barrier one and has a powerful sprint that could see her hard to beat on the day.
“If the pace happens to back-off mid-race that will suit Winx,” Waller said.
“She probably has the best sprint out of my three.”
Hugh Bowman, who had first preference out of Waller’s three and took the mare, agreed Winx was a top sprinter and that could be the winning factor on Saturday.
“Preferment can sustain a long gallop but he can’t move like Winx can,” he said.
“She’s got that excellent turn of foot and that could be the difference between winning and losing.
“I’m anticipating a strongly run race so I’m hoping that doesn’t negate her turn of foot.”
Boss’s mount Kermadec, who is the hoop’s hope at a fourth Cox Plate victory, was last seen crossing a close fourth to now $6 Cox Plate hope Criterion in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) a fortnight ago.
Yet to win over the track or distance, Kermadec is the one to back from Waller’s team if the Cox Plate is run at a genuine but not fast pace.
“The middle of the road horse is Kermadec,” his trainer said.
“A normally run Cox Plate, without being a really tough one would suit him the best.”
To check out the full Cox Plate odds and enjoy Best Tote or SP + 20% on the field plus win an Extra 50% on your very first Fixed Odds winner in Races 1 – 5, head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!