A credible third place finish to Hawkbill in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes in Britain has kept the Cox Plate 2016 option open for Roger Charlton’s classy colt Time Test.
The European four-year-old is one of the early international invitees to the Moonee Valley Racing Club’s premier event, the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) on October 22.
Two back he enjoyed a Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes (2018m) win at Sandown Park before a credible third in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes (2018m) at the same track over the weekend.
Time Test and his hoop Pat Smullen tracked the leading trio into the race before moving up to finish in the money despite the unsuitably soft track conditions, the horse unable to go with the Aidan O’Brien-trained runner-up The Gurkha and Godolphin’s champion Hawkbill.
Owner Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe told the media after the result that Time Test had run a “super race” and that a trip down under this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival was still being considered by connections.
“I am very pleased with that and thought he ran a super race with the ground as it was,” he said.
“He was staying on well at the end and kept on well despite the rain that came.
“All in all it was a decent run and we have lots of options going from here including the Cox Plate.
“That is one of the few to consider but there are other races before then so will just have to see how we play our cards.”
Two years ago Irish horseman O’Brien prepared Adelaide (2014) for a Cox Plate win, the first time a horse outside of Australia or New Zealand took out Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
Next-up for Time Test is a likely run in the Abdullah-sponsored Group 1 Juddmonte Stakes (2092m) at York Racecourse in August where he’ll be out to improve on his fourth to Arabian Queen last season.
Futures Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is firmly led by Chris Waller’s defending champion Winx ($2.80), the mighty mare set to resume racing at Royal Randwick on August 20 in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
Time Test meanwhile can be found further down the all-in Cox Plate odds at a current roughie’s price of $61.
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