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Trav Noonan’s Saturday Racing October 24 Moonee Valley Cox Plate Runner-By-Runner Guide

October 23, 2020April 26th, 2022


What a race we have in store for the 100th running of the W.S Cox Plate on Saturday (Race 9, 2040m) with an evenly matched field set to produce some spirited betting and plenty of differing opinions.
In my runner-by-runner preview, I take a look at the race in depth to try and find who will win the Group 1 classic.


Track Conditions
The BOM (Bureau Of Meteorology) is predicting rain of 8 to 15mm on Friday night and 10 to 20mm on Saturday and if that rain hits, I’m expecting this track will be well and truly in the Soft range and potentially even Heavy.
Given this race will be the 16th race of 18 across 2 days, you would expect the track will have a bit of wear and tear and that all lanes will be in play. 

Expecting that Grandslam (20.00) will take up the lead with Magic Wand (26.00), Kolding (13.00) and Aspetar (17.00) all to be on speed.
Arcadia Queen (5.00), Armory (5.50) and Russian Camelot (5.00) will look for spots just on midfield, while the likes of Humidor (21.00) and Mugatoo (26.00) will need to go right back.
Race should be run at a good clip early.



1 – Kolding (13.00) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Chris Waller – Jockey: James McDonald 59kgs – Barrier: 10

One of the star older horses in Australian racing at the moment is Kolding and he has the right trainer and jockey to win a Cox Plate.
He was a great winner of the Epsom Handicap last year before winning the Golden Eagle in a driving finish.
He ventured to Melbourne in early 2020 but didn’t handle the Caulfield track running below his best in the Futurity Stakes and All-Star Mile before failed runs in the Doncaster and Queen Elizabeth.
This time in though he has recaptured his best winning the George Main in brilliant time before stretching out to 2000m in the Hill Stakes and proving too good for Avilius and Fierce Impact in a sit and sprint.
He looked to handle The Valley well in his gallop at Breakfast with The Best and feel off this his Caulfield form is irrelevant for Saturday.
The queries are still a strong 2040m and if the rain really comes as he doesn’t like it worse than a Soft6. 

Verdict: Can run well but highly doubt he wins. Place chance only.




2 – Humidor (21.00) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Chris Waller – Jockey: Craig Williams 59kgs – Barrier: 14

There’s a bit of synergy with him and 2006 Cox Plate winner Fields of Omagh (FOO).
The similarities are that both are veterans, their Cox Plate records, written off by the market, trained by legendary trainers, Craig Williams in the saddle and Humidor has start 46 Saturday and FOO in 2006 was having his 45th.
His form this campaign has been very good with his first up win in the Feehan Stakes a beauty before running 2nd in the Underwood splitting the favourites Russian Camelot and Arcadia Queen.
He was 3rd in the Caulfield Stakes and well beaten by Arcadia Queen but that race didn’t suit as it very slowly run early and a sprint home which doesn’t suit him at this stage of his career.
A faster run race and back to The Valley will see improvement in the old boy.
The rain predicted is no concern for him as he likes Soft and Heavy ground.

Verdict: Old warhorse who is racing well but has a big task from the barrier. Can run a big race but would be a bit surprising if he won.





3 – Fierce Impact (34.00) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Matthew Smith – Jockey: Luke Currie 59kgs – Barrier: 12

Three-times Group 1 winner at 1600m who is racing in great zest this campaign.
His win in the Makybe Diva Stakes was brilliant when he got the gun run and was able to stave off Russian Camelot.
He was given a quiet ride in the Hill Stakes and couldn’t reel in Kolding as he just spotted that horse too much a start but he was screeching home late running very good sectionals but that race was not a good test of whether he will run a strong 2000m as it was run quite slowly early.

Verdict: Consistent horse who will try hard but this looks too much of a task for him. 


4 – Master Of Wine (34.00)


Trainer: Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes – Jockey: 59kgs – Barrier: 1

On the quick back up from the Caulfield Cup which he ran below market expectations in when finishing 10th beaten nearly 4.5 lengths as 3rd favourite in that race.
He was ridden upside down for him when placed on speed but still think he was disappointing last Saturday.
Don’t like that he is an afterthought and that his Grand Final was last weekend. 
The last runner to win the Cox Plate on the 7-day back up was Maldivian in 2008 and he is no Maldivian

Verdict: Racing below his best and draws a gate that could be tricky for him. Be shocked if he’s in the placings marked him a 100-1 chance.

5 – Mugatoo (26.00)


Trainer: Kris Lees – Jockey: John Allen 59kgs – Barrier: 9

Talented staying type who has been racing in great form this campaign in weaker grade.
He started a clear favourite in The Metropolitan and was a big run when 2nd behind Mirage Dancer who had the perfect ride and just knocked him off.
Back to 2040m off that run looks a good setup and his work here at The Valley on Saturday and Tuesday has looked very good running sharp sectionals home in both gallops.
His figures would need to improve to win this but he's not without hope here and is on an upward trajectory.

Verdict: Needs to lift to win but wouldn’t shock if he put in a career best and ran a bold race.



6 – Aspetar (17.00) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Roger Charlton- Jockey: Damian Lane 59kgs – Barrier: 3

Roger Charlton’s star is a Group 1 winner in Germany who brings in a different international form line to the other internationals.
When he won the Prize Europe in Cologne, Germany in September 2019, he beat a horse Australians know well in Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution and he didn’t just beat him, he flogged him.
Since then he has travelled to Hong Kong and failed miserably in the Vase before racing in 2020 in the UK.
First up he ran 2nd to Magny Cours in the Gala Stakes going down narrowly to that horse who the start prior had beaten top class horse Persian King who placed 3rd in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe only a couple of weeks ago, so the form is world class out of that race.
Last start he was a dominant winner at 12-1 in the York Stakes beating Lord Glitters who gave Addeyb a fright recently and we know how good Addeyb is.
The big question mark is The Valley under raceday conditions and whether he has travelled well.
His form though, is right up to this and he can run well.

Verdict: Gun jockey on, draws well, can position forward and his form is good. Can win.

7 – Sir Dragonet (13.00)


Trainer: Ciaron Maher and David Eustace – Jockey: Glen Boss 59kgs – Barrier: 7

Talented galloper on his day who has joined the Maher/Eustace after an exchange of 7 figures was reached to buy this horse out of Coolmore.
He hasn’t won for a long time with his last victory in the Queen’s Vase at Chester all the way back in May 2019, but he has raced in good races and started hard in the market place.
He loomed to win the Epsom Derby of that year when jumping fav only to finish 5th behind Anthony Van Dyck and also ran 4th in the English St Leger.
In 2020, his form has been building he was beaten into 2nd at his first three starts this campaign and all when starting hard favourite with one of those behind Buckhurst but it was a 3-horse race and he was unsuited under the race shape.
Last start he was brilliant when 2nd behind Magical in the Tattersall’s Gold Cup clearing out from the rest with Armory and Buckhurst in behind him that day.
His work at The Valley has been terrific on Saturday and Tuesday morning.
Bossy going aboard is no negative as he has won this race three times in the past.

Verdict: Draws well, Boss in the saddle, Grand Final stable and his best can win him the race. One of the key chances.



9 – Arcadia Queen (5.00) (pictured at top and in above tweet)


Trainer: Grant and Alana Williams – Jockey: William Pike 57kgs – Barrier: 8

West Australian wonder mare who hit form when winning the Caulfield Stakes and is set to peak here 5th up.
She did have the Caulfield Stakes run on her terms as it was a sit and sprint and she was the best horse suited under that scenario, so the win was perhaps a tad flattered.
The queries for her would be if this a fast run Cox Plate at 2040m as she hasn’t been proven in this distance range racing in a race with genuine pace and the other would be a wet track as she hasn’t proven herself on rain affected conditions.

Verdict: One of the best horses in the race and obvious winning chance but the wet track and the possible fast run race are queries. Think she is under the odds and will taking her on.


10 – Nettoyer (91.00)


Trainer: Wendy Roche – Jockey: Billy Egan 57kgs – Barrier: 13 

Doncaster Handicap winner who was soundly beaten last week by Think It Over who would be 3000-1 here.
2040m is a query as is the Melbourne way of going. 

Verdict: Lacks the class and isn’t racing well enough to be in the finish here. Making up the numbers of the field.



11 – Russian Camelot (5.00)


Trainer: Danny O’Brien- Jockey: Damien Oliver 56.5kgs – Barrier: 15

Up and coming superstar of Australian racing who was disappointing when getting beat at 1.40 in the Caulfield Stakes by Arcadia Queen.
That race was run slowly and he couldn’t sprint with AQ in the finish.
He is much better suited here with the bigger field likely to inject more tempo into the race and the wet track to be a huge advantage for him as his best figures are on rain affected surfaces.
Prep has all been around aiming to peak on Cox Plate day and he looks set to bounce back. 

Verdict: The market suggests he is a superstar and could get the best price all prep here. Wet track will suit and is one of the leading contenders.


12 – Armory (5.50)


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien – Jockey: Ben Melham 56.5kgs – Barrier: 6

Aidan O’Brien is looking for his 2nd Cox Plate win here with a horse who profiles like his winner in 2014 Adelaide being a Northern Hemisphere 3YO who is coming here with Group 1 international form.
His run in the Irish Champion Stakes last start was excellent when he chased home Ghaiyyath and Magical while beating an Arc winner home in Sottsass.
Three starts back though he was well beaten by Sir Dragonet in the Tattersall’s Gold Cup at the Curragh which looked a fast pace and I thought he was weak late that race was also run a Soft track which he hasn’t been his preferred surface so far in his career.
He seems well found in the market given this race is likely to be run on a wet track with a pace above average.

Verdict: His form is world class from last start but feel he’s overrated here given the conditions of the race. Happy to take him on at the price.





13 – Probabeel (7.50) (in above tweet)


Trainer: Jamie Richards – Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy 55.5kgs – Barrier: 2

Kiwi mare who won the Epsom Handicap last start in good style and that race was run at a quick speed.
She’s absolutely flying this time in and won’t get a better chance to run 2040m off her lead given her preparation.
She loves wet tracks also, so no concerns there but the queries are she won an Epsom that wasn’t that strong and that 2040 metres could be too far a distance for her.

Verdict: She’s absolutely flying but this is her biggest task and at a distance she isn’t proven at. Given that she’s under the odds. 

14 – Grandslam (20.00)


Trainer: Ciaron Maher and David Eustace – Jockey: Jye McNeil 49.5kgs – Barrier: 5

Lone 3YO in the race who is coming here off a career PB in the Caulfield Guineas when leading at a very fast pace and holding on for 3rd.
The wet track should suit as his full sister Jameka was a deadest swimmer and he is set to peak here 4th up at 2040m which also will suit.
His set to elevate his figures here for mine and is a key winning hope.
Will roll on speed and could be your leader.

Verdict: No weight on his back coming off a career PB and set to peak 4th up. Has to be a winning chance and is over the odds.


15 – Buckhurst (51.00) (1st em)


Trainer: Joseph O’Brien – Jockey: Jamie Kah 59kgs – Barrier: 11

Verdict: If he makes the field he can roll forward and be a key pace influence but the wet track rolls him out of being competitive as he doesn’t get through it.


My Market to 100 percent: Russian Camelot 5, Sir Dragonet 7, Arcadia Queen 7.5, Armory 10, Grandslam 10, Aspetar 10, Humidor 21, Probabeel 21, Mugatoo 26, Kolding 26, Fierce Impact 51, Magic Wand 51, Master Of Wine 101, Nettoyer 501. 




Selections: 7 Sir Dragonet (in above tweet) 14 Grandslam, 11 Russian Camelot, 6 Aspetar


Suggested Bet: Sir Dragonet (13.00) (win) and Grandslam (20.00) (win)




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