Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for the Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Saturday, October 24th.
This is the 100th edition of the Cox Plate and it's attracted a star-studded field for the $5million weight-for-age classic.
Expect there to be a reasonable tempo set by the three-year-old (14) Grandslam who carries just 49.5kg. I’m tipping the favourite (11) Russian Camelot will go forward early from his wide barrier, much like he did when he won the Underwood Stakes. Others drawn wide include (15) Buckhurst, (1) Kolding and (3) Fierce Impact, who all have the ability to race on speed, so the first 200m or so will prove pivotal. The other three internationals – (6) Aspetar, (7) Sir Dragonet and (12) Armory – all draw well. (9) Arcadia Queen was dominant when receiving a quieter ride last start so expect her to be worse than midfield again. For my predicted settling positions of every runner, see the speed map below.
With the heavy rain that was predicted to hit Moonee Valley completely missing on Friday night, the track ended up incredibly firm and played very fast. Once again the forecast suggests we are in for plenty of rain on Saturday, but the track manager believes we’ll be racing on a Good 4 – Soft 5 surface for the Cox Plate.
If that’s the case, I think we’ll see the best of (9) Arcadia Queen, much like what she produced when winning the Caulfield Stakes last start. She was back to her brilliant best with the step up to 2000m, the removal of the bar plates and the quieter ride. On a firm surface, I struggle to see Russian Camelot turning the tables on her if the race is run similarly to last time. She goes on top in the hope that the majority of the rain stays away.
(11) Russian Camelot is favourite and I think many are expecting him to relish the wet conditions should the rain arrive. I’m in that camp – I think his best chance will be if the track is wet. All of his best performances have been on rain-affected ground. From barrier 15, I’m of the belief they go forward and take up a position on speed, riding him like the best horse in the race. It wouldn’t shock me to see Damien Oliver make it a real staying test from the 800m mark – setting sail for home with the knowledge this horse can sustain a long run and has the stamina on his side.
Of the internationals, the best looks to be the Aidan O’Brien-trained (12) Armory, who produced an impressive victory two starts ago at the Curragh before finishing 3rd behind Magical and Ghaiyyath. That’s a supreme formline and he’s drawn to get a gun run from barrier 6. There were some slight concerns over his soundness during the week but the stable have said all along he’s 100% and that he is in better form than Adelaide when he won his Cox Plate in 2014.
The roughie of the field is (3) Fierce Impact, who ran a blinder behind Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant first up, before beating Russian Camelot second up. Russian Camelot sat wide that day but still, he’s $4.40 while Fierce Impact is $34 here. Forget his last start when he was given no hope at all of winning. The barrier does make it tough for him but if he was able to slot in on speed, he’d give you a big run for your money at huge odds.
The chances don’t end there in what’s a terrific edition of the Cox Plate. Arcadia Queen on top for me if the track remains relatively firm, while if the rain comes, Russian Camelot’s chances continue to be enhanced. Fierce Impact the blowout at big odds.
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