International hoop James Doyle is a late alternation to replace Hong Kong-based Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira on the John O’Shea-trained Complacent in the 2015 Cox Plate this weekend in Melbourne.
O’Shea and the Godolphin stable saddle-up two of the capacity 14 starters in Saturday’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), running at Moonee Valley Racecourse, with The BMW winner Hartnell and last start Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) winner Complacent.
Hartnell is a $15 chance in the current Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the entire Cox Plate Day card on Saturday, with the Authorized stallion looking to improve on a close sixth when beaten only 1.35 lengths by Preferment in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
Complacent is at a slightly longer quote of $19 in the Cox Plate betting markets led by Irish raider Highland Reel ($5) out to hand trainer Aidan O’Brien with back-to-back victories following the success of Adelaide 12 months ago and the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion ($6) who comes off a first-up win in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
Another five-year-old son of Authorized, Complacent is yet to run at Moonee Valley but has a gun record over Saturday’s distance of two wins and a third from three previous 2000m runs.
He is two from four this campaign, his first since a second in the 2013 Victoria Derby, which was also his last run in Melbourne.
Originally Moreira was set to make the trip down under to partner Complacent in the Cox Plate field, but connections at Godolphin have made a late decision to change jockeys and put the stable’s retained rider Doyle on the galloper.
“Strictly speaking final riders aren’t until midday today so we were happy to grant the request,” Racing Victoria’s chief steward Terry Bailey said of the application made on Wednesday.
“Had they done it 24 hours later there would have been a problem, but that was not the case.”
Doyle makes his maiden Cox Plate appearance as O’Shea looks to win the weight-for-age classic for the first time.
Harntell jumps from barrier three, which last produced a Cox Plate winner only two years ago with the Danny O’Brien-trained colt Shamus Award, and is out to become the first horse to win the event on the back of a Turnbull Stakes run since El Segundo (6th in 2007).
Before him the mighty triple Melbourne Cup winning mare Makybe Diva completed the Turnbull Stakes – Cox Plate double without another run in between.
Complacent is also drawn well with a mid-field gate six draw, the last champion to start from that barrier being the Mark Kavanagh-trained Maldivian (2008), and the last horse to win the Cox Plate off a Sydney run was the Greg Eurell-trained Pinker Pinker who backed up from a second in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
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