Punters believe Australasian racing’s championship event, Saturday’s WS Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, is a State Of Origin type affair.
Gai Waterhouse’s champion juvenile of last season Pierro, which carries the blue colours, and the Victorian Green Moon, owned by a racing authority in Lloyd Williams, head TAB markets on the annual epic.
“The New Zealander Ocean Park has won three straight group 1s, a winner of the Caulfield Stakes last time out, and it is one of the hardest to get any money out of since Tuesday’s barrier draw,” TAB’s enlightener Glenn Munsie said.
“We did write a bet two weeks ago on Ocean Park of $20,000 at $8 but I wouldn’t say they are killing us for it since the last win at Caulfield.
“One thing punters won’t need to concern themselves with is the jockey, the Bossman [Glen Boss], who could win on the clerk of the course’s horse on a big day.”
Pierro is being quoted at $4 just ahead of Turnbull Stakes winner Green Moon at $5.
“The two favourites Pierro and Green Moon have supporters but the most popular runner today has been Shoot Out,” Munsie said.
“Part of premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller’s team, the first bet this morning was $1000 at $31 and we took a bet this evening of $2000 at $26.”
Shoot Out is Waller’s first Cox Plate runner while Waterhouse is no novice in the weight-for-age championship although there has been no glory.
Waterhouse has launched a three pronged attack on the Cox Plate for Pierro will be joined by John Singleton’s super mare More Joyous and fellow three-year-old Proisir.
“If this was a normal race and not the Cox Plate, the horse would be scratched and the trainer sacked,” Singo told The Daily Telegraph after Waterhouse opted for barrier 11 when every other gate was available for the great lady to choose. “This isn’t death, it is suicide.”
“Despite the fact she has drawn barrier 11 More Joyous has plenty of supporters, she is unchanged from $11,” Munsie said.
“Gai has worked out how she wants the mare ridden, how the race will be run, she does have three in it.”
Munsie believes the man steering More Joyous, the now Sydney based Victorian, Nash Rawiller, has been given options.
“If they [jockeys] jump out and look around More Joyous can press on to the front,”Munsie said. “If they jump and go fast, the field breaks up and she slots in mid-field.”
What about Pierro’s Caulfield Guineas defeat?
“Everyone said it was a gut busting run, he went hard, but he got knocked down after they went 20 yards,” Munsie said.
“He had to work to get there but if he was as good as they thought he was, he was entitled to hold off All Too Hard.”
Pierro, Waterhouse’s Proisir and All To Hard are all three-year-olds and Munsie’s team is willing to gamble.
“It is a massive test for a three-year-old,” Munsie said.
“ They are not going to dwadle in this race. Proisir jumps, he’ll go forwad, Glass Harmonium has speed…..
“All Too Hard is at $10 and the punters are chipping away at him. Proisir and All Too Hard, we are laying them around the same price.” So who wins?
“The punters are interested in 90 per cent of the field, no-one wants to back Linton while Glass Harmonium is hard to lay,”Munsie said. “Two out, it is going to be some race.”
By Craig Young