The spring carnival action returns to Mooney Valley on Saturday for the running of the 2015 Cox Plate. Once again we have horse racing tips from Tim's Tips, and we will all racing season, so make sure to read on and keep returning to Before You Bet for more tips.
William Hill Cox Plate 2040 - WFA Group 1
Top quality field as you'd expect for Australia's premier WFA race and on the back of Adelaide's tremendous win last year the Europeans have sent 3 horses over for the race this year. It currently stands at $6.00 the field which gives you some indication of the strength of this field.
CRITERION: Returned to Australia after spending the winter in the UK sunshine and he produced a huge win in the Caulfield Stakes. Subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan was back in 3rd that day and naturally Criterion would improve a lot coming in to this race after racing at 2000m first up from 6 weeks off. Should settle midfield from barrier 7 which is the equal 2nd most successful barrier and he's expected to be a major player here.
FAWKNER: Put in his worst run for a very long time last start when he was probably ridden unsuitably outside the leader. His form previous to that would have him right in contention here but there is the glaring fact that no horse has ever won the Cox Plate from barrier 14. They will probably be forced to settle 3 wide in the back half of the field and that looks to have significantly hampered his chances of winning.
HAPPY TRAILS: Think he's been going really well this prep without any luck and he finally proved how well he was going when finishing half a length behind Criterion in the Caulfield Stakes. Draws horribly in barrier 13 and he'll be settling back in the field and looking for cover, and it's hard to see him turning the tables on Criterion from last start.
HARTNELL: Really interesting runner as it appears he's been going well below par and comes into this at decent odds. He was much better last start when working home strongly over 2000m behind Preferment, and from barrier 3 here he is sure to get a sweet run in transit. Think he's very much looking for 2400m and even the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup. Think he is a good each way chance and profiles well for the race but not one of my top winning chances.
MOURINHO: Flying this prep if you forget his run two starts ago. Recorded a strong win in Group 1 WFA company last start over 1800m in the Underwood and he absolutely relishes the 2040m at Moonee Valley. He's had 4 starts for 3 wins and a place over this track and distance but the obvious killer for him is barrier 12. No horse has ever won from barrier 12 and it's hard to see him breaking the drought.
THE CLEANER: The people's horse returns after securing his spot in the race with a strong win in the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam over 1600m here. Was only just nosed out by Mourinho last start in the Group 1 Underwood and he looks to be going even better this year than what he was last year. He's had 8 starts at the track for 5 wins and 2 placings and there's no doubt he will lead the field from barrier 2. He will give them something to chase of course and he will get it how he likes it out the front. Terrific each way chance and it would be a remarkable story if he could hang on!
PORNICHET: Mixing his form this prep and went horribly in the Caulfield Stakes last start. Barrier 11 is very ugly for him but it actually stands as the equal 2nd most successful barrier in Cox Plate's, although in the last 13 years 11 winners have started from barrier 7 or less. I don't think he's going anywhere near well enough to win this.
AROD: 5YO import from the UK profiles very well for this race. At his last start Arod ran 2nd, beaten half a length, to the best miler in Europe in Solow, who has since come out and won another Group 1 only recently! This horse is 2/2 over 2000m although that was in much lesser races and he seems to do his best racing over a mile. That is my concern - this race demands a horse that is strong at the 2000m and with The Cleaner in the race it will be a grind from the 600m onwards. However, form for this race doesn't get much better than what he's got and from barrier 5 he will hold a spot up on speed. Great chance.
COMPLACENT: Flying this prep since returning from a long injury. He's won two Group races this prep; one over 1600m and the other at 2000m at his last start. His victory over the mile in the Chelmsford Stakes was against a Group 1 quality field and he obviously goes particularly well over 2000m. Draws barrier 6 which means he should get a great run but this field is much stronger than anything he's faced.
GAILO CHOP: Multiple Group race winner in France and won a Group 3 by 4 lengths over 2000m at his last start. Looks like he is significantly better on wet tracks so that win might be a little deceiving. Barrier 8 looks like a tricky gate to navigate from and I'm not convinced Brad Rawiller is the best booking. However, this is another horse with form behind Solow which is strong enough to win, but he'd be much more attractive if the rain came.
KERMADEC: Looked to be the next big thing at WFA level in Australia following his win in the George Main Stakes but he was slightly disappointing for mine in the Caulfield Stakes last start. Not convinced his best distance is 2000m and as many have pointed out, he was outsprinted by Mongolian Khan over the last 200m last start. He will go back from barrier 10 and you can never discount a Waller horse, but he needed to show much more last start for me to back him here.
PREFERMENT: Has produced two outstanding wins at his last two starts, both over 2000m and his ability to win over 2000m and beyond could be crucial in this race given it could turn into a bit of a staying test. However, he has a coupe of big negatives. One being barrier 9 (although he could go back to the rear of the field) and the other being the tight turning circuit of Moonee Valley and the short straight. He is much better suited on the big, long, wide straights of Randwick and Flemington so the tight corners and short straight work strongly against him here.
HIGHLAND REEL: Getting more and more excited at this horse's prospects the more I look through his form. He's got Group 1 form over 2100m in France and a Group 3 win over 2400m. More recently he demolished the field in the Group 1 Secretariat Stakes in America, winning by 5 lengths. At his last start he was probably unsuited by the soft track when finishing 5th behind Golden Horn, who has since gone on to win the Arc! For me, that form is panels above our Australian form and he also has the major positives of barrier 4 and Ryan Moore as his jockey. Plenty in his favour and he rates very strongly here.
WINX: Her two wins so far this preparation have been utterly outstanding. You don't get hampered twice like she did last start and still bound away to demolish the field in the Epsom. Her turn of foot is the best in the race and she might have developed into a superstar this prep. She will use barrier 1 to sit in the back half of the field behind the hot tempo and ride for luck, because her turn of foot is good enough to win her the race is the breaks come. I do think she is a superstar, and the only mares to win this race in the last 20 years have all come off 21 day breaks which is exactly the same as Winx. Maybe not good enough to beat the best of the Europeans but I could very well be wrong.
I can't go past HIGHLAND REEL'S form here especially given the run he's set to get from barrier 4 as well as Ryan Moore engaged to ride. I think WINX is a genuine superstar but she will need luck in the run. AROD is another with outstanding for lines but he needs to prove his ability over 2000m. Criterion is the best of the local males, set to improve off his terrific first up win in the Caulfield Stakes.
1 - HIGHLAND REEL
2 - WINX
3 - AROD
4 - CRITERION
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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