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With the Australasian weight-for-age championship taking place at Moonee Valley on Saturday the punters are madly doing the Cox Plate form and tips, but who should you rule out for the win historically speaking?
The iconic Cox Plate has been run and won since 1992 and is named in hour of the Moonee Valley Racing Club’s founder, W.S. Cox.
Cox Plate prize money is now up to $3 million and the winners’ list reads like a genuine who’s who of Australian racing including: Phar Lap, Flight, Tobin Bronze, Northerly and Fields Of Omagh.
Last spring Chris Waller’s incredible mare Winx added her name to the Cox Plate winners and this weekend she is back to do it again and become the 13th multiple winner of the major.
Latest Cox Plate betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au have the turf champion at a firming odds-on quote of $1.90.
Those are short odds and if successful she’ll be the shortest-priced Cox Plate winner since So You Think ($1.50) for his second in 2010 six years ago.
He was also the last back-to-back Cox Plate champ and no horse since, until Saturday, has attempted successive wins.
Hartnell is the only other runner in this year’s 10-starer Cox Plate field rated a genuine chance at an upset, but odds on the John O’Shea-trained import are on the drift ($3.50 out to $3.90).
So does the Cox Plate history work for or against Winx and Hartnell? And are there any Cox Plate horses statistically you should rule out of your exotic Cox Plate tips on Saturday?
Cox Plate Horses to Sack
#1 Happy Trails ($126): The roughie of the Cox Plate field, Paul Beshara’s veteran galloper comes off a fifth in the Turnbull Stakes behind Hartnell. He’s not good enough to make up that gap here over the same distance and hasn’t won a race since the 2014 Makcinnon Stakes. The past six Cox Plate winners came off a top three run. This is his fifth shot at the title, but Fields Of Omagh (2006) is history’s sole nine-year-old Cox Plate winner.
#2 Black Heart Bart ($26): Darren Weir’s $2.78 million earner’s form reads 2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2. He ran second to Winx last time out in a three-horse Ladbrokes Classic field, so that means he wins this next-up right? Wrong. He was no measure for the mighty mare over these meters when she wound-up and that was his only 2000m start to date. History shows that in the past 28 years just the two Cox Plate winners won without a previous victory over the distance (or further) outside of their three-year-old season.
#3 Hartnell ($3.90): The John O’Shea galloper is wound-up after the impressive Turnbull Stakes win and ready to take on Winx for a fourth time. He’s never met her going this good within himself or on the track and the bookies have him as the danger. The punters might be cluing onto some imposing Cox Plate facts that work against him however as he is easing fast in Cox Plate markets. He ran out of the money for fifth in last year’s race and in the past 43 years only one horse backed-up from an unplaced Cox Plate run to win the following year – Fields Of Omagh for his first in 2003.
#5 Happy Clapper ($101): Another triple-figure Cox Plate roughie out to do a ‘Prince of Penzance’ from the Melbourne Cup last year. Pat Webster’s six-year-old ran fourth to Hauraki in the Epsom Handicap and has had just the one previous start at 2000m when third to Lucia Valentina in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the autumn. She is shorter in the Cox Plate markets on the weekend and the one to back over this galloper who hasn’t won since last December and is ruled out by the same fact that sees Black Heart Bart a “don’t back” runner.
#7 Awesome Rock ($81): This stallion surprised even connections earlier in the spring winning the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at the Valley and has run fifth in his two subsequent runs including the Toorak Handicap. That isn’t the form-line to follow into the Cox Plate however with Fields Of Omagh (2nd in 2003) the only Cox Plate winner since 1972 to graduate out of the Toorak.
#10 Yankee Rose ($15): This is the sole filly in the mix and she’s out to become the second of her kind to win this race, the first since Surround (1976). That fact along is enough to suggest she won’t get the job done. Keep in mind though that from the four fillies since 1990 to run in the race, two finished third.
Cox Plate Horses to Back
#4 Hauraki ($21): The forgotten Godolphin runner in the line-up, this five-year-old comes off the Epsom Handicap win in Sydney and is after the double Winx achieved last spring. There are no major historical Cox Plate statistics working against him, and in all four previous runs against Winx he has held his own and run top three without disgrace.
#6 Vadamos ($15): The French raider in the field looking to become just the second Northern Hemisphere-trained Cox Plate winner along with Adelaide (2014) from two years ago. He was impressive last time out at home winning a good Group 1 race over the mile and has winning form up to 2400m. That bodes well for his Australian debut.
#8 Winx ($1.90): She is odds-on and firming so the price isn’t attractive, but everything else is. This is her race and she’s coming off the 12 straight wins so there’s history to be made again by the daughter of Street Cry. She handles the tight turns at Moonee Valley no-issue and her gun barrier three draw gives Hugh Bowman every chance to use her tactical speed to hold off the challengers.
#9 Lucia Valentina ($21): This Kris Lees-trained mare is another the punters have been happy to leave, but perhaps at their own peril. She is one of the best over the meters (8-4-1-1) with an equal four wins at the distance with Hartnell. She comes off a third in the Underwood Stakes, and while that race isn’t historically great, she has the finishing speed to show up plenty of these in her maiden go around the Valley.
Lock in all your Cox Plate betting tips for 2016 at the right price online now at Ladbrokes.com.au!
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