Michael Moroney’s upset Stradbroke Handicap...
For the first time in five years the Cox Plate winner will not be Winx! So, what horse takes out the 2019 Ladbrokes Cox Plate in the absence of the historic four-time champion? Read on for our exclusive Cox Plate tips ahead of 98th running of The Valley classic.
It’s a far more open affair in betting on the Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) this year with plenty of different storylines and form lines to read into ahead of the weight-for-age showdown.
Despite the poor strike-rate of internationals in the event, money at Ladbrokes.com.au is on Japan’s weight-for-age star Lys Gracieux ($3.60) to get the job done after the Caulfield Cup win by the fellow Japanese-trained Mer De Grace last weekend.
We have to go back to 2005 for the last Japanese horse in the Cox Plate field when Tosen Dandy, a $201 roughie, finished a distant 11th.
This time around, Heart’s Cry mare Lys Gracieux is a much classier type and she’s done everything right back home to suggest a killer run fresh even from the horror barrier on the tight Moonee Valley circuit this Saturday.
The local dangers are Tassie sweetheart Mystic Journey ($7) in the ideal gate (6 into 5) and looking to return to her best form after a forgivable fifth in the Turnbull last time out, and three-year-old lightweight Castelvecchio ($8).
Who else figures in the Cox Plate results?
Could nine-year-old Black Heart Bart ($26) take out the $1 million bonus racing in career best form in his veteran years?
Will Waller be reduced to tears again with last start Turnbull Stakes winner Kings Will Dream ($20) back from a life-threatening injury in last year’s race?
Can Verry Elleegant ($16) make it five on the trot for a Waller-trained mare in the Cox Plate?
See below for the horses to back and sack in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate betting markets this weekend.
To Win: #13 Very Elleegant ($16)
Waller makes history again with a fifth straight Cox Plate win! Cox Plate history favours four-year-old mares and this one has class. Four-year-olds have won the Cox Plate 30 times including five of the past nine. She is drawn well in barrier 5 (into 4) and knows how to win a Group 1 boasting two on the trot from the autumn in Sydney. While she didn’t beat much last time out in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m), it showed she was still in winning form and this is her pet distance (4:3-0-0). Will she like the Valley? Her recent runs show her winding up late on longer straights, but she’s every chance with James McDonald aboard for the right stable.
Danger: #9 Lys Gracieux ($3.60)
Star Japanese mare certainly is a deserving favourite based on her outstanding WFA form at the top-level back home in Japan. Mer De Grace took out the Caulfield Cup last Saturday with Damian Lane aboard and again we’re looking at a Group 1 winning hope from Japan ridden by Lane in Melbourne. Wide gate isn’t ideal and she has to prove herself at the notoriously tight track, but if she’s as good as they say she’ll take the power of beating. The lead-up form has certainly been a bit hit and miss, but he looked the goods again last time out when runner-up to the VRC Derby bound Shadow Hero in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m). Danger at the distance and if he likes the track then look out.
Each Way: Castelvecchio ($8)
Three-year-old colts have a top record in the Cox Plate in the past 20 years with three winners and any Group 1 winner getting the weight relief is certainly attractive. Needs to stay out of trouble from near the inside, but Craig Williams is no dummy and should be able to get his mount into a suitable position.
Best Roughie: #7 Te Akau Shark ($16)
Forgotten horse in the Cox Plate field is this Kiwi raider who has been racing consistently without winning this prep. The Jamie Richards-trained five-year-old comes off three straight seconds, the latest very narrowly beaten from out wide in Randwick’s Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m). Has another horror draw (18) and generally the Cox Plate winner comes from the inside seven gates. Yet to see the distance or The Valley, but at the price could sneak in for a place at odds.
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