The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
For punters seeking the value in Saturday’s 2022 Ladbrokes Cox Plate there is money coming for outsiders Maximal and Mo’unga to score an upset in the Australasian weight-for-age championship.
Dubbed the ‘race where champions are made’, the Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) runs at Moonee Valley on Saturday and has attracted a fittingly champion-rich field.
Heading Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is last year’s devastatingly close runner-up, Anamoe, who has unfinished business.
The James Cummings-trained son of Street Boss presents rock-hard fit fourth-up on Saturday chasing his fourth win on the trot.
He’s gone to another level in the 12 months since being denied the Cox Plate trophy after an unsuccessful protest against State Of Rest last year.
This prep alone the gun young stallion has posted a trio of elite level wins, the latest in the Might And Power that looks the form line to follow into Saturday’s major.
Anamoe sits top of the Cox Plate odds at a firm $2.40 drawn barrier four for jockey James McDonald and does look a hard to beat favourite.
Still, there are a few further down the markets that the punters are coming for including the current Cox Plate market mover Maximal.
The John O’Shea-trained stayer was as long as $81 earlier in the week, but has come right into $41.
It would take a remarkable effort for jockey Ben Melham to get this Galileo five-year-old home first, but the horse does look a chance to add some value to the Cox Plate exotics.
He remains lightly-raced having just his 16th start on the weekend, but has just the one win on his record.
Maximal was well-beaten first-up when eighth behind Anamoe in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) in Sydney, but improved notably to run second behind Smokin’ Romans in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 1.
He has been kept fresh with three weeks between runs after scratching out of last weekend’s Caulfield Cup field due to the unsuitably wet track, so will need to be good after having plans rearranged and staying at the shorter distance third-up here.
The other outsider getting some love firming in from $31 to $26 is the Annabel Neasham-trained Mo’unga.
It’s been a while between drinks for the Savabeel five-year-old whose last victory was over a year ago in the 2021 Winx Stakes when defeating subsequent Melbourne Cup champion, the recently retired Verry Elleegant.
Last year’s Rosehill Guineas champion, Mo’unga has had a hit and miss prep this time in, but has stacked-up in a few recent runs.
Second-up after running last in the Winx Stakes he was third to I’m Thunderstruck in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and then second in that blanket Underwood finish.
He was disappointing in the Might And Power however when running dead last, albeit still under three lengths beaten, and it depends which Mo’unga shows up on Saturday.
Neasham saddles-up two Cox Plate horses on Saturday also represented by the $4.60 second favourite Zaaki with the rails run from barrier one for jockey Jamie Kah.
Zaaki was controversially scratched the morning of as the pre-race Cox Plate favourite last spring and lines-up a genuine hope to get what many thought he would have secured then.
He won well fresh in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes by nearly two lengths on a Heavy (10) Sydney track proving his evergreen status as an eight-year-old.
His latest two have produced close third place finishes firstly behind all-the-way winner Alligator Blood in a thrilling Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Sandown and then to Anamoe in the Might And Power only a quarter length off his main rival on Saturday in the rematch.
Bringing the x-factor to the Cox Plate in 2022 meanwhile is Chris Waller’s relatively unknown import El Bodegon steady in the markets at $7 to win his down under debut.
Damien Oliver rides the Irish-bred Kodiac four-year-old whose European form looks excellent and who could easily come out firing and beat the Aussies fresh.
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