The Cox Plate meeting will be held at Mooney Valley this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Thursday and with mainly fine weather in Melbourne leading up to the weekend, Mooney Valley will be racing on a Good track on raceday.
Sydney visitor Guard Of Honour is primed to peak when 3rd up in the Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Handicap (Melbourne Race 2, 950m). The Kris Lees-trained 5YO wasn’t beaten far in his two runs this campaign. Lees then has given the gelding a freshen up and has sent Guard Of Honour to an 800m trial to keep his fitness up on the 9th October in which he duly won. Guard Of Honour has a pretty good record over Saturday’s trip with 3 wins and 2 placings from 7 starts. Champion hoop Damien Oliver will be on board and that’s another plus. Oliver will sit off the pace and Guard Of Honour will finish strongly in the run home.
Chris Waller-trained 5YO Egg Tart could be the one to beat in the Mooney Valley Cup (Melbourne Race 8, 2500m). Egg Tart has a good turn-of-foot and being an ex-Oaks winning filly, the 2500m should not be a problem. She has solid grounding to prepare her for Saturday’s trip with consecutive 3rd place finish in her past two starts in the Hill Stakes (2000m) and the Craven Plate (2000m). Kerrin McEvoy knows the horse well and will stick with the mare on Saturday. Barrier 3 is a huge advantage at the 2500m start at the Valley and that will give McEvoy a chance to settle somewhere mid-field on the fence and put Egg Tart to sleep. With a cushy run in transit, Egg Tart will be flashing home strongly. Currently at $9.00 fixed odds, Egg Tart is pretty good value in an open race.
There’s no prize for guessing who will win the Cox Plate, with Winx the deserved hot favourite in the Group 1 race (Melbourne Race 9, 2040m). Having won the last three Cox Plates, Winx is going as well as ever according to Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman, and the champion mare is ready for Saturday’s assignment. She has pretty much the same preparation as last year having resumed in the Warwick Stakes, then winning the George Main Stakes and the Turnbull Stakes. Winx did, however, also ran in the Chelmsford Stakes last year. The small field of 8 will also suit the mare. Bowman is likely to settle 5th or 6th one off the fence to make sure she has a clear crack at them in the run home. Winx is all set to create history by making it four straight wins in the Weight For Age Championship.
By Owens Wong, Editor