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Cox Plate preview

The greatest Aussie race of all, at least if you are a purist loving the weight-for-age system rather than the everyone gets a chance method of the big handicaps which make up many of Australia's feature races. The Cox Plate has a long honour roll of champions, and none better the legendary 1986 contest, replayed here with the immortal words of 'The Accurate One', Bill Collins....

Supplying the preview for this year's classic is the sharpest analyst in Melbourne, Racetrack Ralphy, @rtralphy. His record on this blog this carnival is impeccable! Subscribe to his premium service on his website, Racetrack Ralphy, now featuring Vince Accardi's Melbourne Cup blog assessment...


Sportingbet Cox Plate

Race Overview

Basic numbers: 11-3-8-9-14 Best roughy: (if not 9) 4-12

Three World Class horses become two with the scratching of ATLANTIC JEWEL. I've taken a massive opinion play here on IT'S A DUNDEEL as I believe that the wide barrier and missed run/work is "giving" you an extra point or two off odds which is too good to refuse. By extension I'm risking PUISSANCE DE LUNE and LONG JOHN against the market for reasons listed below, but I don't want to lose if FIORENTE wins, and want MASKED MARVEL running for a result. Please yourself and best of luck, but I'm very keen on IT'S A DUNDEEL.

Suggested bet: 14 win units IT'S A DUNDEEL at anything over $4:50. (Betfair has $2600+ at 11:30 posting.) 4 win units FIORENTE. 2 win units MASKED MARVEL.

Speed Map

1. Green Moon
Last year's Melbourne Cup winner whose winning chance is hard to assess, but certainly impossible to dismiss. He was in a walking tempo Underwood when out the back and no chance, but was the 3rd best closer and only 2nd up so should be significantly fitter/stronger here despite missing the Caulfield Stakes. Note his 2012 Turnbull win was 3rd up. He started $5:00 favourite in this race last year, but gut-busting tempos aren't his go as he also proved in this year's Australian Cup won by SUPER COOL. Does the stable consider him a genuine Melbourne Cup chance with 57.5kgs or is this now his Grand Final?

2. Happy Trails
Just keeps surprising the market with his $26:00 Turnbull win being immediately after his $81:00 Underwood fourth to IT'S A DUNDEEL. Drawn to get the gun run, and is clearly in the zone, but is the FAWKNER/DEAR DEMI Caulfield Cup form a sign that they had flat runs at Flemington, while this bloke peaked through the roof?

3. Fiorente $5:50
His past two runs have showcased not only his pure talent, but monster closing ability in first winning here at Group 2 WFA level, prior to simply being too far back in the Turnbull, and smashing the line too late. The concern here has to be the double shot of the wide alley and how the track will play. Does Shinn roll the dice in his only ride on the horse (Oliver booked for the Melbourne Cup) to get a position, or ride him dead cold and hope to pass everything? Big risk/reward choices, but he is an outstanding galloper and a big winning chance.

4. Foreteller
Lobbed out the back in the walking speed Caulfield Stakes and unsurprisingly finished well, but in no match for the ATLANTIC JEWEL world class turn of foot. She's not here but he now is - call it last minute coincidence - and the reality is that his 2000 elite level record is very good. For him he can't have a very solid speed - EG the Australian Cup busted him open - nor the walk of last time, but if it's somewhere in the middle - like when winning the Ranvet - he can produce a big 600 metre sprint and that is usually an asset at this track. A wider chance.

5. Side Glance
Looks a pack chasing average beast, who from 1 at least has the tactical speed to be in the right spot as he was in the Arlington Million before a bit of a hold up at the top of the straight saw him lose momentum and run third. For the sake of the standing of the race, I hope he doesn't place or gawd forbid win as a non-Group 1 winner, but Williams will give him every chance.

6. Seville
Won the Group 1 Metropolitan handicap last start when giving the same type of kick (but here off a hurdle speed) that saw him run 2nd to GREEN MOON in the 2012 Turnbull.

7. Rekindled Interest
Yes gets back to his favourite track and yes was unlucky in this race in 2011 behind the ill-fated PINKER PINKER (a weak year,) but he hasn't won since September 2011, and as such is a low % play, who can flop into a place if absolutely everything went in his favour. Blinkers go on.

8. Puissance de Lune $8:00
The picket fence is gone since his booming looking first up win, that on 2nd glance was against pretty average stock and in a plain time. He just missed in both the Group 1 Makybe (1600) and Turnbull (2000) either side of going back and having no chance with the slow tempo at Caulfield v IT'S A DUNDEEL/ATLANTIC JEWEL. But in those 2nds the concern and/or question is, has he lost his killer punch? Either it's been a slow build to a big exploding peak here, or he's just an each way chance needing luck. Have to respect the trainer's ability to get them to pull out a monster run and winkers go on.

9. Masked Marvel $21:00
I think he's the best roughy and crikey what a story if Michael Rodd won it after ATLANTIC JEWEL broke down. He's been the Williams runner staying at 2000 with the Melbourne Cup grand final to come, but from the draw can sit mid-field and has the ability to give a monster close whatever the tempo. He's now 4th up and typical of the camp trending upwards in a big way.

10. Mull of Killough
The 2nd international visitor with inferior form to SIDE GLANCE. Hope not.

11. It's a Dundeel $2:75
I try and keep these reports relatively dry and overlay it with an opinion, but I'll cut to the chase here. I expect him to bolt in... if he has luck in running from the tricky barrier. He was seriously well backed first up against ATLANTIC JEWEL when he failed to get momentum when needed, before putting himself on the speed and out-bobbing the same mare off a slow tempo. Yes, he's since missed a race and some work with a foot abscess, but it was 3 weeks ago and has since had genuinely solid work. So 3rd up? Last prep 3rd up he was astonishing in bolting in the Rosehill Guineas by 6.8L over SACRED FALLS who won the Doncaster at his next start! Of course he isn't a certainty, but I'm supremely confident that he is clearly the best horse in the race, and as such that is too good a starting point to resist.

12. Super Cool
He's seemingly out of form but he's definitely the type to need high pressure 2000 metre (+?) races as shown in his brilliant though narrow win over FIVEANDAHALFSTAR in the Australian Cup

13. Atlantic Jewel scratched

14. Long John $21:00
He peaked for his Grand Final in a style typical of the camp in the Caulfield Guineas when in the right spot to hang tough on a murderous early speed. The usual comparisons from 3yo's of years gone past will be given, but my starting point is this belief; Last year's 3yo's ALL TOO HARD and PIERRO weren't able to win this race, and they were vastly superior to this year's crop, but IT'S A DUNDEEL was comfortably in their bracket. As such I have to risk.

15. Shamus Award
See LONG JOHN comment for 3yo overview, but this bloke had not much go right in the Guineas after being super brave on the speed here in the Stutt.


  1. Ralphy's tips are well worth the money. He genuinely does the form saving a lot of hard work. Then you can put your own spin on it.


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