Hesi Posted October 21, 2019 Share Posted October 21, 2019 The current state of play Ballot exempt horses- Harlem (David Hayes, Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig)- Cape of Good Hope (David Hayes, Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig)- Homesman (Liam Howley)While the committee has the power to basically cherry-pick the Cox Plate field, it's hard to see them removing a horse that has gained ballot exemption as it would make a mockery of the concept and render it pointless. Invited horses- Danceteria (David Menuisier)- Kluger (Tomokazu Takano)- Lys Gracieux (Yoshito Yahagi)Like the ballot exempt horses, it's hard to envisage a scenario where the committee gives a horse they've invited from overseas the heave-ho. Expected runners- Avilius (James Cummings)- Mystic Journey (Adam Trinder)- Magic Wand (Aidan O’Brien)These three runners appear all-but safe in the final field. Avilius has two Group One wins in 2019 including the Ranvet over 2000m, Mystic Journey sits on the second line of betting having won the Australian Guineas and All-Star Mile in the autumn. Magic Wand is a six-time Group One placegetter for Aidan O'Brien and is coming off a second to Magical in the Irish Champion over 2000m. Horses on the fringe Hartnell (James Cummings)Gailo Chop (Matthew Williams)Humidor (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace)Dream Castle (Saeed bin Suroor)Black Heart Bart (Lindsey Smith) *requires late entry fee*Mr Quickie (Phillip Stokes)Te Akau Shark (Jamie Richards)Verry Elleegant (Chris Waller)Castelvecchio (Richard Litt)Latrobe (Joseph O’Brien)Hunting Horn (Aidan O’Brien)Kings Will Dream (Chris Waller)The cases for and against the key Cox Plate hopefuls... Hartnell (GB) James Cummings 9yoG (b) Authorized x Debonnaire RATING 114 Career 57 13-14-8 Earnings $7,289,499 Last 10 10 0-1-5 Win Range 1400-3219m For: The grand old campaigner rarely runs a bad race and hasn't been far away in all five runs this preparation. He has placed at his past two runs over 2000m at Group One level, finishing third to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes earlier this year and was third to Kings Will Dream last time out in the Turnbull Stakes. Against: While he's still racing in great heart, he hasn't been able to win at his past 11 starts and the $26 about him seems about right. Gailo Chop (FR) Matthew Williams 9yoG (ch) Deportivo x Grenoble RATING 112 Career 32 13-4-4 Earnings $4,206,398 Last 10 10 3-2-1 Win Range 1400-2100m For: He was a Group One winner in the Ranvet over 2000m in autumn 2018 before suffering a tendon injury at the end of the preparation. He's had three runs back from a long layoff, including a third behind Black Heart Bart in the Underwood. Against: While it's been an impressive return from injury under the tutelage of Matthew Williams, he hasn't quite done enough to warrant a start given the stiff competition for spots. Humidor (NZ) Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 7yoG (b) Teofilo x Zalika RATING 112 Career 36 8-7-5 Earnings $3,992,915 Last 10 10 1-0-3 Win Range 1400-2000m For: The gelding for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace has placed in the past two Cox Plates, including getting within half-a-length of the superstar mare in 2017. It would be a brave call to leave him out. Against: He's improved with each run this campaign, but has gone unplaced in four runs so far this spring. He'd need to find a couple of lengths improvement to be a winning chance. Gatting (AUS) Darren Mcauliffe 6yoG (b) Hard Spun x Stubborn RATING 112 Career 40 11-8-4 Earnings $1,914,950 Last 10 10 2-3-0 Win Range 1100-2400m For: He has a Group One win next to his name this preparation, causing a massive boilover in the Makybe Diva Stakes at 100/1. Against: He was disappointing in the Caulfield Stakes, failing to beat a runner home and that has put paid to his Cox Plate chances. Dream Castle (GB) Saeed Bin Suroor 6yoG (b) Frankel x Sand Vixen RATING 110 Career 17 4-2-1 Earnings $996,355 Last 10 10 3-0-1 Win Range 1408-1800m For: Scored in a Group One over 1800m at Meydan earlier this year which completed a hat-trick of wins. That streak saw him start as a $3.50 chance in the Dubai Turf, which featured Japanese star Almond Eye. Against: Failed to beat a runner home in the Dubai Turf and was also poor in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. He did it tough first-up in Australia in the Caulfield Stakes, caught wide throughout, but he needed a better performance (finished 9th) to push his case for a Cox Plate start. Black Heart Bart (AUS) Lindsey Smith 9yoG (b) Blackfriars x Sister Theresa RATING 113 Career 57 17-15-4 Earnings $4,648,580 Last 10 10 1-1-0 Win Range 1000-1800m For: He was a winner for the Group One Underwood Stakes two starts back and went within a whisker of back-to-back Group Ones when nosed out by Cape Of Good Hope in the Caulfield Stakes. He has six Group One wins to his name and his past two performances have been strong. Against: He's finished runner-up twice in the Caulfield Stakes, but he is yet to win beyond 1800m. He finished ninth in the 2016 Cox Plate when arguably in the prime of his career. Mr Quickie (AUS) Phillip Stokes 4yoG (b/br) Shamus Award x Special Favour RATING 108 Career 16 9-2-2 Earnings $1,007,200 Last 10 10 5-1-2 Win Range 1200-2400m For: The four-year-old took out the Queensland Derby during the winter and resumed with a super performance in the Makybe Diva Stakes behind Gatting. He's won nine of 15 career starts and is open to further improvement. Against: As promising as his first-up performance was, his second-up run in the Turnbull was plain, even taking into account that the tempo was against him. A Queensland Derby win doesn't look enough to warrant selection this year. Te Akau Shark (NZ) Jamie Richards 5yoG (ch) Rip Van Winkle x Bak da Chief RATING 108 Career 9 5-3-0 Earnings $466,685 Last 10 9 5-3-0 Win Range 1100-1600m For: The five-year-old Kiwi gelding is a runner still on the up, with just nine career runs under his belt. He's missed a place just once, finishing fourth at Group One level during his three-year-old season. He has some 'X-factor' about him and his effort to get within 0.1L of Kolding in the Epsom Handicap last start was enormous. Against: The fact he is yet to win at Group One level is the knock and he is untested beyond a mile. Verry Elleegant (NZ) Chris Waller 4yoM (br) Zed x Opulence RATING 106 Career 14 7-2-1 Earnings $1,592,369 Last 10 10 5-1-0 Win Range 1400-2400m For: The Chris Waller-trained mare is at her best when getting out to 2000m and beyond, having won the Vinery Stud Stakes and ATC Oaks during the autumn and arrived just in time to claim the Group Two Hill Stakes last time out. Against: She got the win in the Hill Stakes, but it took until the last stride to get to Samadoubt. She was 3.8 lengths off Avilius at Group One level the start prior, although that was only over a mile. Castelvecchio (AUS) Richard Litt 3yoC (b) Dundeel x St. Therese RATING 102 Career 8 3-1-2 Earnings $1,814,750 Last 10 8 3-1-2 Win Range 1200-1600m For: It's likely the committee will want a three-year-old in the race and with Flit choosing to bypass the Cox Plate, the son of Dundeel is now the obvious choice. He won the Group One Champagne Stakes over a mile in the autumn and put in his best run for the spring last start in the Spring Champion Stakes when runner-up to Shadow Hero. Yankee Rose ran third to Winx in the 2016 Cox Plate after winning the Spring Champion. Against: He's yet to be tested against proven weight-for-age horses in open company. Latrobe (IRE) J P O'Brien 5yoc (br) Camelot x Question Times RATING 112 Career 15 3-6-1 Earnings $1,979,308 Last 10 10 1-3-1 Win Range 2414-2414m For: He won the Irish Derby (2414m) at Group One level in 2018 before heading to Australia in the spring where he finished a head off Trap For Fools in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m). The Joseph O'Brien five-year-old was a winner at Group Three level two starts back in Ireland. Against: While he was second in last year's Mackinnon Stakes it hasn't stacked up as a strong form race. He was well-held in his most recent outing in the Irish St Leger. Hunting Horn (IRE) A P O'Brien 5yoc (b) Camelot x Mora Bai RATING 115 Career 18 2-1-4 Earnings $131,778 Last 10 10 0-0-2 Win Range 2004-2004m For: The Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Camelot has been chasing home some of the best in the world, including Enable this season. Against: He only has the two wins to his name and his last victory came at Group Three level back in June 2018. That's not enough to get a start this year. Kings Will Dream (IRE) Chris Waller 6yoG (ch) Casamento x Road Harbour RATING 105 Career 17 7-1-4 Earnings $1,056,918 Last 10 10 2-1-2 Win Range 1200-2400m For: What a fantastic comeback it has been by the six-year-old after suffering a serious injury in last year's Cox Plate. The Chris Waller-trained gelding was competitive in the Winx Stakes and Makybe Diva Stakes before claiming a narrow win last start over Finche in the Group One Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. Against: The Turnbull win could be enough to get him in, but he certainly needed the victory to come into contention given his biggest win prior had been at Listed level in the Mornington Cup. Who makes the cut and why... Likely Cox Plate field HORSE SEX AGE TRAINER WEIGHT 1 AVILIUS (GB) G 6 James Cummings 59kg 2 BLACK HEART BART* G 9 Lindsey Smith 59kg 3 DANCETERIA (FR) G 5 David Menuisier 59kg 4 HARLEM (GB) G 8 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig 59kg 5 HOMESMAN (USA) G 6 Liam Howley 59kg 6 HUMIDOR (NZ) G 7 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 59kg 7 KINGS WILL DREAM (IRE) G 6 Chris Waller 59kg 8 KLUGER (JPN) H 8 Tomokazu Takano 59kg 9 TE AKAU SHARK (NZ) G 5 Jamie Richards 59kg 10 LYS GRACIEUX (JPN) M 6 Yoshito Yahagi 57kg 11 MAGIC WAND (IRE) M 5 Aidan O'Brien 57kg 12 CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (IRE) H 4 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig 56.5kg 13 MYSTIC JOURNEY M 4 Adam Trinder 55.5kg 14 CASTELVECCHIO C 3 Richard Litt 49.5kg EMERGENCIES 1e VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ) M 4 Chris Waller 55.5kg 2e LATROBE H 5 Joseph O'Brien 59kg 3e GAILO CHOP G 9 Matthew Williams 59kg 4e MR QUICKIE G 4 Phillip Stokes 57.5kg *Requires a late entry fee. Te Akau Shark doesn't have a Group One win to his name, but the Kiwi gelding goes in and looks a genuine threat in the race. He's an exciting galloper and unlike many of his rivals, his best should be ahead of him.A three-year-old adds intrigue to the race and Castelvecchio did enough in the Spring Champion Stakes to warrant a start. He'll get the services of Craig Williams with just 49.5kg on his back.Kings Will Dream booked his ticket with the Turnbull win and it's a great story to have him back in the race given the events of last year.Black Heart Bart was 1000/1 to get a spot after his Rupert Clarke run, but he has banged down the door with his past two performances.I've got the final spot as a battle between Humidor and Verry Elleegant and while I'd love to have the latter in given she's open to further improvement as a four-year-old, Humidor's exploits in the past two Cox Plates are hard to ignore and his fifth in the Caulfield Stakes, beaten two lengths, indicates he is getting closer to his best. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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