The Cox Plate meeting will be held at Mooney Valley this Saturday (24th October). The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Thursday and with showers forecast for Melbourne on Friday & Saturday, Mooney Valley is likely to be racing on a Soft track on raceday.
The Godolphin-owned Valaquenta looks a strong chance in the Red Anchor Stakes (Melbourne Race 3, 1200m). This 3YO gelding is reaching peak fitness being 3rd up on Saturday and he had won his only race start previously at the venue. Mark Zahra will take over the rein and he is riding full of confidence after winning the Caulfield Cup last week. From the widest gate (9), Zahra will settle behind midfield and ride a patient race. With reasonable pace in the race, Valaquenta will fly over the top of this field in the last furlong.
Shared Ambition is the best of Chris Waller’s three chances in the Mooney Valley Gold Cup (Melbourne Race 8, 2500m). This 5YO has slowly worked up to a suitable distance this campaign. Shared Ambition has a great record on Soft tracks with 3 wins from 4 starts in the condition and regular rider James McDonald is back on board on Saturday. Significantly Waller is taking the blinkers off Shared Ambition on Saturday and it will be interesting to see where the gelding will settle in transit. Expect to see Shared Ambition finishing the race off strongly.
Irish visitor Armory boasts strong international form and he could well be the horse to beat in the Cox Plate (Melbourne Race 9, 2040m). This Galileo stallion has been racing in top European Group 1 races earlier this year including the Irish Guineas and the Curragh Gold Cup. Last start in the Irish Champion Stakes (2012m), Armory finished 2 length 3rd to the champion mare Magical and the eventual Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Sottsass ran 4th in that same race and that’s very good form. Armory has drawn nicely in barrier 6 and he can handle any track conditions. With the pace having drawn out wide, the speed will be on from the start and Ben Melham will bide his time settling in the second half of the field. Armory is in top form and he will show his class by taking out the Cox Plate.
By Owens Wong, Editor