Cox Plate
  • Speed map, rated market and runner comments from pro punter Trevor Lawson
  • Trev likes the look of the favourite.

Cox Plate Field

They’re all paid up and barring any last-minute physical issues, they’ll all start. I Don’t expect any of the emergencies to get a run.

Cox Plate Track

With the way the weekend is held now, the Cox Plate is the 17th of 18 races in 24 hours. I had somebody walk the track yesterday (Thursday) and it seems to have plenty of give in it. They weren’t going to water last night, expecting a touch of rain to come this morning, and it did. It’ll dry out a touch, hopefully, so they it doesn’t get chopped up too much on Friday night, and plays pretty evenly on Saturday. The rail is back in the true for both Friday and Saturday – last meeting it was out seven metres, so a big chunk of the track has had a good break.

Cox Plate Speed Map

I expect Homesman to go forward. Lys Gracieux went forward last start, with Lane on, so expect them to do the same here. Black Heart Bart will also go forward, and Harlem and Magic Wand will want to hold ground. Te Akau Shark and Kings Will Dream should go back. Most of the others don’t have much pace.

Cox Plate Chances

BLACK HEART BART (1) was simply given every possible chance last start. It’s hard to see him winning a Cox Plate as a nine-year-old, though if he runs to his last start figure he maps alright for a $34 shot.

It’s hard to know what to do with AVILIUS (2), who was half-poor last start. It’s best figures tend to be on tracks with some give and buy this stage tomorrow there might not be much of that at the Valley. I’m happy to risk him.

Age probably isn’t on the side of KLUGER (3). He ran second to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth, but he’s an eight-year-old now and hard to see him winning this.

TE AKAU SHARK (7) has a pretty rough chance and that’s about it in my opinon. The wide barrier is a concern and it’s his first run past 2000 metres.

DANCETERIA (8) has missed a run this prep. But he has improved ratings with each run and has a good record at this distance range. I’ve just put him in at his rating, and he’s a rough chance.

The favourite LYS GRACIEUX (9) should go forward. She ran second in Hong Kong in December last year lapping horses like Rostropvic and Prince Of Arran that’d been here for our Spring Carnival. They went back to Hong Kong in April got back again, running third. The first time that Lane rode it he drew outside and went straight across to lead. They ran the equivalent of 1.58.9 for the 2000 metres there, which is flying by our standards. As long as they go straight to the front, they could make it a true staying test. If that’s the case, she’ll be extremely hard to beat.

MAGIC WAND (10) ran second in the Arlington Millions then second in an Irish Group 1. She has good ratings and can race on the pace. The only downside is her lack of winning ways… she’s not won in 13 starts. Havign said that, the O’Brien stable know which horses to bring to target our big races and have done so successfully before.

CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (11) hit the line very well in the Caulfield Stakes, in his first run for the new camp off a 69 day break. Would assume slight improvement off that here.

MYSTIC JOURNEY (12) just got too far back last start, but gets a better draw here. The jury is still well and truly out regarding whether she can run a strong 2000 metres. I’m not convinced, and have rated her to her second-up win, which is a length of her best in the Australian Guineas and All Star Mile.

VERRY ELLEEGANT’s (13) best form is on tracks with give, and not sure she has the class to win this.

CASTELVECCHIO (14) is a three-year-old who ran on terrifically in the Spring Champion when jumping dramatically in distance. Can get a cheap run from the barrier here, but needs to improve to be competitive.

There’s not much to say HARLEM (4) and HOMESMAN (5) can really figure here, and KINGS WILL DREAM (6) will probably just be too disadvantaged by the barrier.

Cox Plate Verdict

With very strong performances in the bank, I’ve got LYS GRACIEUX (9) on top. And she looks backable at the price. After that I’ve got Mystic Journey, Magic Wand and Castelvechhio. Mystic Journey looks a bit short in the market for me, but the others look a decent price.

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