The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) lights up the Moonee Valley track this Saturday with Alligator Blood in fine form drawn barrier five in the 12-horse field.
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained cult horse was the first to have connections pick out his gate for the 2023 Cox Plate field and they opted for a better-than-midfield gate five.
Winx (2017) and So You Think (2010) are the latest two Cox Plate winners from barrier five.
All Too Hard seven-year-old Alligator Blood is current second second elect to win Saturday’s classic on the back of his outstanding two-length romp home at Caulfield in the Group 1 Might And Power (2000m) last start.
Hong Kong galloper Romantic Warrior will jump favourite in Cox Plate betting, currently sitting as the $4 top elect through race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au, well backed over the week with the raider drawn barrier seven.
“I think it is a reasonable draw, I’m happy with it,” the horse’s trainer Danny Shum told Racing.com following the Cox Plate barrier draw.
James McDonald retains the ride on Romantic Warrior in the Cox Plate with the hoop chasing back-to-back victories following his 2022 success aboard the since-retired Anamoe.
The Sha Tin superstar had his debut run down under running a slashing fourth behind Gold Trip in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) .
That was the horse’s first run in over 40 days and his first the left-handed way or racing with big improvement expected second-up into the Australasian weight-for-age championship on Saturday.
The other international Cox Plate contender this spring is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish galloper Victoria Road.
Blake Shinn has the mount on the European three-year-old who races down under as a four-year-old this weekend from barrier six.
Barrier six has produced more Cox Plate winners in the past 30 years than any other gate including two of the past three with the ill-fated Sir Dragonet (2020) and State Of Rest (2021) who was prepared by Aidan’s son Joseph.
O’Brien senior also has a Cox Plate trophy already in the cabinet having won the event back in 2014 with Adelaide.
The last horse to draw a gate was the Annabel Neasham-trained veteran Zaaki with the nine-year-old looking to be the first Cox Plate winner in history from barrier 12.
Zaaki, fourth in the race last year, is right out to $15 in Cox Plate markets after coming up with the wide alley.
He races in Melbourne third-up off two good Sydney lead-ups most recently finishing second in the $1 million 7 Stakes (1600m) behind Think It Over at Randwick in mid-September.
There are two three-year-old Cox Plate runners in 2023 with the Chris Waller-trained Militarize ($8) and King Colorado ($15) for the Maher/Eustace stable draw in barriers three and ten respectively.
Militarize enjoyed a third career Group 1 two back in the Golden Rose and was last seen finishing fifth to Griff in the Caulfield Guineas over the mile, while Kingman colt King Colorado was fourth in that same three-year-old’s lead-up.
Waller famously won four straight Cox Plates with his heroic mare Winx (2015-18).
Along with Militarize the master horseman is back chasing a fifth this year with multiple Group 1 winning Sebring mare Fangirl ($9) drawn barrier nine for Zac Purton.
The five-year-old daughter of Sebring was excellent last time out winning the Group 1 $5 million King Charles III Stakes (1600m) on October 14 defeating Mr Brightside by 2.67 lengths.
The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained star miler Mr Brightside will be out for atonement when he looks to return to winning form in the Cox Plate from barrier two with Craig Williams in the saddle.
The Bullbars six-year-old has to stretch his brilliance to 2000m, but remains a chance at $9 from the good gate with an imposing three-from-four record at Moonee Valley.
Gold Trip completes the single-figure fancies in a wide-open betting race also at $9 with the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained iron horse having his final lead-up before his Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) title defence on November 7.
Gold Trip was runner-up in the Caulfield Cup and ninth in last year’s Cox Plate results before his upset success in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
The now seven-year-old son of Outstrip comes off a second Caulfield Cup placing having run third in last weekend’s major and is on the quick back-up in gate eight with Mark Zahra aboard this weekend.
Ben Melham rode Gold Trip in the Caulfield Cup on the 58.5kg top-weight with Zahra opting to partner Without A Fight in a winning move by the hoop who saluted in the 2400m showdown aboard the Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained import.
Neasham’s second runner My Oberon coming off a King Charles third, Edward Cummings‘ in-form mare Duais, and Pinstriped complete the Cox Plate line-up.
2023 Ladbrokes Cox Plate Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x1122x12x4||ROMANTIC WARRIOR (IRE)||Danny Shum||James McDonald||7||59kg||124|
|2||341x217x32||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Damian Lane||12||59kg||118|
|3||x5211x1112||MR BRIGHTSIDE (NZ)||Ben, Will & JD Hayes||Craig Williams||2||59kg||119|
|4||1x140x4211||ALLIGATOR BLOOD||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||5||59kg||119|
|5||1x2570x413||GOLD TRIP (FR)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||8||59kg||121|
|6||x6026x6473||MY OBERON (IRE)||Annabel Neasham||Jamie Mott||4||59kg||115|
|7||534113×215||PINSTRIPED||Enver Jusufovic||Ben Allen||11||59kg||113|
|8||2x3227x131||FANGIRL||Chris Waller||Zac Purton||9||57kg||116|
|9||80x43x7933||DUAIS||Edward Cummings||Damien Oliver||1||57kg||112|
|10||2241111×73||VICTORIA ROAD (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Blake Shinn||6||56.5kg||115|
|11||13011×515||MILITARIZE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Zac Lloyd (a)||3||49.5kg||117|
|12||411×974||KING COLORADO||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Michael Dee||10||49.5kg||112|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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