The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Cox Plate 2014 field is set to jump at 5:40pm (AEDT) this afternoon in Melbourne and so here we follow the money trail and check out the stats on the early market movers for the weight-for-age classic.
Fourteen gallopers are set to line up in the barriers for Moonee Valley Race 8 today, the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) losing none of its original runners.
Cox Plate betting is starting to heat up at Ladbrokes.com.au and the favourite Fawkner is on the drift.
Robert Hickmott’s chance at a maiden Cox Plate win opened at $4 but the seven-year-old is now at a juicy $4.80 and continues to ease.
Favourites have a poor recent record in the Cox Plate with just two in the past 10 years saluting and it seems the punters are shying away from this Lloyd Williams-owned son of Reset to break the hoodoo despite his good lead-up form.
Also on the drift in the Cox Plate odds is former $6.50 chance Adelaide for Ireland’s champion trainer Adian O’Brien who saddles-up his first hope down under since 2008.
Galileo stallion Adelaide is out to $7.50 for his Australian race debut, the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes winner over the distance two back last seen finishing a close third over 2400m at Longchamp in France in mid-September.
Other notable Cox Plate horses drifting out from their opening prices include the Chris Waller-trained George Main Stakes winner Sacred Falls ($6 out to $7.50), last year’s runner-up Happy Trails ($9 out to $11) and the big drifter – Foreteller ($21 out to $34).
Waller saddles up three in the Cox Plate field this year and his Underwood Stakes winner Foreteller is now one of the genuine roughies of the pack, the Dansili eight-year-old out to become the first of his age to win since Super Impose (1992).
As well as the age hoodoo to overcome, Forteller was well beaten in the Caulfield Stakes last time out when five lengths off Fawkner in the October 11 lead-up suggesting the 2000m might not be his best gig.
So who are the punters coming for in the Cox Plate markets?
#8 Criterion ($8 into $6.50)
This David Payne-trained Sebring four-year-old is recent market mover having been supported solidly over the past couple of days to continue the ace record over the past half a decade for his age group. Before three-year-old Shamus Award broke the trend last year, three four-year-olds won the Cox Plate on the trot – So You Think (2010), Pinker Pinker (2011) and Ocean Park (2012). He does have his own hoodoo to overcome however having won the ATC Derby last season, the last horse to complete the Derby – Cox Plate double being Bonecrusher (1986). His lead-up form is also outstanding with two seconds firstly behind subsequent The Metropolitan winner Junoob in Sydney’s Hill Stakes (2000m) and then in the Caulfield Stakes last time out – a race that has produced 10 of the past 30 Cox Plate winners.
#12 Almalad ($34 into $26)
There are three three-year-olds in the Cox Plate field this year looking to go back-to-back following the success of the race’s first maiden winner Shamus Award 12 months ago and punters are coming for two of them including Gai Waterhouse’s JJ Atkins winner. The Al Maher gelding has been set for this race for a long time, he’s a Waterhouse horse so of course the Cox Plate has been the target! Looked on track with a Golden Rose fourth followed by a Moonee Valley win in the Stutt Stakes two back but then couldn’t get onto the track in the Caulfield Guineas from barrier 13 (of 13) and could only manage to finish eighth. Should improve with a better run here over more distance (2000m the query?) and gate eight will give him a chance.
#13 Sweynesse ($34 into $16)
This fellow 3yo has been absolutely smashed by the punters with his odds more than halved over the past four days. Jockey Chad Schofield won the Cox Plate on a three-year-old 12 months ago and gets another chance here partnering with John O’Shea’s Lonhro colt, winner of three on thet rot in Sydney this season before suffering his only defeat in five starts when a brave third behind now Victoria Derby favourite Hampton Court in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m). Distance then is a non-issue but is in his Melbourne debut here.
To get behind the Cox Plate betting market movers this afternoon before the odds firm further head to Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $3 million MegaPick promo today!
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