Moonee Valley: W.S Cox Plate Day, 27 Oct 2018
The crowds will be out to see a true champion on Saturday’s W.S Cox Plate day. The day is already a sell-out, and those in attendance may be witnessing history if the mighty mare Winx can make it four in a row.
The Cox Plate under-card features an entertaining selection of races, covering age grade, fillies races, sprints, middle distance and a staying race: the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. But everyone will be waiting for the big one at 5pm, when Winx tries to become the first horse ever to win the W.S Cox Plate four times in succession.
Moonee Valley Race 1
Inglis 2.y.o Banner
Race Time: 12:10 PM
The card kicks off with a two-year-old event. Hard to gauge the form, but the three which stand out include WEDGETAIL, BISCARA, both recent placegetters in the Debutant Stakes two weeks ago at Caulfield, and first-timer ESPAANIYAAH from the Waterhouse/Bott stable. I’d go with these three, the others I’m less sure about.
BFF Picks: Biscara, Wedgetail, Espaaniyah
Value Price: Judgement $16.00
Roughie: Troodles $21.00
Moonee Valley Race 2
Strathmore Community Handicap
Race Time: 12:40 PM
An average field lines up in this short sprint. INVINCIBLE AL is one of several picks, coupled with GUARD OF HONOUR and THERMAL CURRENT. Most of the betting action surrounds these three. Nearly all of the field is resuming after some time off, so picking a winner on recent form is a bit of a lottery.
BFF Picks: Invincible Al, Thermal Current, Desert Lashes
Value Price: Badajoz $9.50
Roughie: Late Charge $19.00
Moonee Valley Race 3
Powerflo Solutions Stakes
Race Time: 1:15 PM
This a mile race for the mares. Godolphin’s SAVATIANO looks the odds-on choice here, after racing in the top grade recently, though this is her first crack at a mile. BRING ME ROSES is the most seasoned campaigner here, with Group 1 placings throughout her three-year-old year. Is resuming, so anywhere near her best would be enough to see off this field. Of the others, I like MAMZELLE TESS, a most consistent and honest mare, plus the promising duo of SHOKO and OUR GIRL SILKE.
BFF Picks: Savatiano, Bring Me Roses, Mamzelle Tess
Value Price: Mamzelle Tess $17.00
Roughie: Our Girl Silke $20.00
Moonee Valley Race 4
Harrolds Crockett Stakes
Race Time: 1:50 PM
This is a hard race to pick with four or five chances prominent. SPANISH WHISPER didn’t figure in the Thousand Guineas but she does have Group 1 and 2 form behind her. This drop in grade will help her get runs on the board. ASSERTIVE PLAY is another whose recent prep hasn’t yielded results but is highly capable. Of the others, ILLUMINAIRE and I’M SO SWEET loom as outside prospects.
BFF Picks: Spanish Whisper, Assertive Play, I’m So Sweet
Value Price: Beauty $12.00
Roughie: Illuminaire $14.00
Moonee Valley Race 5
1300 Australia Stakes
Race Time: 2:25 PM
A race for three-year-olds, the good money is on the Hawkes galloper SUNSET WATCH. With the good form-line and barrier draw, he holds all the aces. WAGNER was a beaten favourite in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude last start and is dropping back in distance and class. More than a reasonable chance. Sydney colt AYLMERTON was a handy sort in his two-year-old prep, but hasn’t really kicked on. Would like to see him back saluting the judge. The lightly raced filly BLEU ROCHE was withdrawn from the barrier and scratched at her last start, but is obviously capable with a win and placing from her two starts. One to keep safe.
BFF Picks: Sunset Watch, Wagner, Aylmerton
Value Price: Bleu Roche $13.00
Roughie: Ragged Rascal $26.00
Moonee Valley Race 6
Aquis Farms Fillies Classic
Race Time: 3:00 PM
A few of the three-year-old fillies lining up in this race featured in both the Edward Manifold Stakes and the Thousand Guineas. Neither Amphitrite nor Verry Elleegant are here, so that leaves the way for a number of possibilities. Stablemate KRONE is one of those, she joins a smart trio of gals from the Darren Weir stable. Joining the fun is another Weir filly ANJANA, whose form-line isn’t as good but she has the polish. It will be hard to split the three leading hopes EL DORADO DREAMING, FUNDAMENTALIST and MYSTIC JOURNEY. An even race, many chances.
BFF Picks: Krone, Fundamentalist, El Dorado Dreaming
Value Price: Music Bay $10.00
Roughie: Hediard $41.00
Moonee Valley Race 7
Schweppes Crystal Mile
Race Time: 3:35 PM
There’s a couple of horses with Group 1 form in this race, while the rest of the field falls away in quality. Doesn’t mean they are without a chance. Take CLIFF’S EDGE and OCTABELLO for example. I’ve been going on about Octabello, and it ends up winning the Cranbourne Cup at his last start, albeit at long odds. SIEGE OF QUEBEC is another improver from the Waterhouse/Bott stable. Placing third last start in the Toorak, he’s well up for this.
BFF Picks: Siege of Quebec, Cliff’s Edge, Prized Icon
Value Price: Octabello $11.00
Roughie: Sovereign Nation $12.00
Moonee Valley Race 8
McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup
Race Time: 4:10 PM
On paper, this appears to be a solid lineup of stayers. The reality is: many of them are horribly out of form, with some trying to use it as a tune-up exercise for the Melbourne Cup. Contenders like BIG DUKE, NAKEETA, WHO SHOT THEBARMAN and TOSEN BASIL are still in the mix, but would need to show something soon. The favourite is likely to be THE TAJ MAHAL who has had two decent runs of late, and Sydney mare EGG TART who is starting to creep into some form. They’ll be my two.
BFF Picks: The Taj Mahal, Egg Tart, Sully
Value Price: Patrick Erin $13.00
Roughie: Ladies First $26.00
Moonee Valley Race 9
Ladbrokes W.S Cox Plate
Race Time: 5:00 PM
Can WINX do it? The world thinks she can, and so do we. Let’s talk about the opposition. BENBATL will most likely lead as there are no other apparent front-runners. He’s tough enough to potentially lead all the way. HUMIDOR pushed the great mare all the way last year, but this is a different story. We’ll all be getting a first peek at top Irish horse ROSTROPOVICH on Saturday. He’ll be fresh, will that be enough? Kiwi mare SAVVY COUP is a recent Group 1 winner at Hastings, she won that day in a canter. Connections reckon she’s improved since her three-year-old year. An outside hope, but this is the Cox Plate after all, and Kiwi horses have fared well in this race down through the years.
BFF Picks: Winx, Benbatl, Savvy Coup
Value Price: Humidor $16.00
Roughie: Rostropovich $34.00
Moonee Valley Race 10
Drummond Golf Vase
Race Time: 5:50 PM
The final race is for three-year-olds. Darren Weir has two of the best fillies going around at the moment. Amphitrite and VERRY ELLEEGANT who backs up a week after winning the Ethereal Stakes at Caulfield. She’s heading to the VRC Kennedy Oaks along with her stablemate. Has a barnstorming finish on her, watch for her late. Godolphin’s ARAMAYO is a class filly, and she was just pipped in the Flight Stakes by Maid Of Heaven. Sure to be around at the finish. Two colts on the improve are SAVOIE and Sydney-sider DEALMAKER. It will be interesting to see how the boys compare to the girls in this race.
BFF Picks: Verry Elleegant, Aramayo, Dealmaker
Value Price: Botti $17.00
Roughie: Stripping Royalty $51.00