The second leg of the big 3 spring races, the Sportingbet Cox Plate, will be run at Mooney Valley this Saturday. The Mooney Valley track was rated a Dead 4 on Thursday, and with light showers forecast for Friday and Saturday, the track should remain Dead 4 on race day.
The Cox Plate (Melbourne Race 8, 2040m) is the weight for age championship. Looking through history, this race is usually won by the best horse. The pace is generally on right from the beginning and there is nowhere to hide during the race. It’s the survival of the fittest.
There are three 3 year old in the race this year but Pierro is the only one that has the rating base to be a genuine winning chance. It was well documented that Pierro was very unlucky in the Caulfield Guineas, he missed the start, got trapped four deep, pushed along to the front in a fast run race, and he was a sitting duck in the last 200m. Even though his Guineas run did look like a gut-buster, we have to remember Pierro’s first two runs this preparation were soft wins. The hard battle he had in the Guineas would have done him the world of good and would have him being ‘match fit’.
Looking at Pierro’s breeding, he’s by Lonhro out of a Daylami mare. That tells me that he could only get better as he runs over more ground so the 2040m would not present any problem. From barrier 7, the in-form Corey Brown will settle him in third position one off the fence, probably outside Green Moon who will start from barrier 5. If he is within striking distance rounding the home turn, he could use his light weight (49.5kg) to slip away and be hard to catch.
Among the older horses, More Joyous wll also be a winning chance. From barrier 11, I can see her avoiding all the inside interference and go to sit 2nd outside Glass Harmonium. I just have a slight doubt whether she is going as well this spring as the past 2 years. The 2nd race favourite, Green Moon, is also a definitely chance. He has been very consistent this preparation and he won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes last start. But I have a question mark on the quality of opposition in the Turnbull. The kiwi Ocean Park has won 3 Group 1 races in a row. He possesses scintillating acceleration, the sign of a top weight for age horse. Last start, he had beaten Alcopop in the Caulfield Stakes and last week, Alcopop franked the form by running a very good 2nd in the Caulfield Cup.
I also like the dark horse, Ethiopia. He has been running on in his races without winning this campaign. He worked home really well in his two lead up races and he is gaining fitness in every run. He won the AJC Derby earlier this year so he would have no problem running a strong 2040m.
My selection :
2nd Ocean Park
Editor’s Note : For the punters who have followed my weekly column, last week in the Caulfield Cup, they would have backed Alcopop @ $16.00 SP who finished 2nd, and Lights of Heaven @ $11.00 SP who finished 3rd.
By Owens Wong, Editor