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The Hawk’s Preview: Cox Plate Day

October 27, 2012
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Cox Plate Day is here for another year!

It looks to be a disappointing card this year, with small, uncompetitive fields looking the order of the day.

But when there is such an intriguing Cox Plate as the hallmark, I think we can deal with disappointing fields!

Unfortunately, due to traffic around Moonee Valley, I was late on course and missed the first race.

After the success of last week, I will be doing race by race previews prior to each race, thereby giving you the late mail for each race today on the Moonee Valley card.

My comprehensive Cox Plate preview is now available here!

Here is my preview for Cox Plate day:

Race 2 – CITY JEEP HANDICAP (1000m)

Tough little sprint coming up here, with the important scratchings of Winter King and Snitzem from the race. I’m keen on FREERETURN here back to the Valley. His Valley stats are good and he has been tackling tougher fields. Back in grade should suit and they are swooping so I think he’s going to be right in it. OBSIDIAN DRAGON is a flying machine who won the Apache Cat Classic at Cranbourne last start. Will be in front for a long way. Next best I GET AROUND and KULGRINDA.

2 – FREERETURN
3 – OBSIDIAN DRAGON
9 – I GET AROUND
1 – KULGRINDA

Race 3 – DRUMMOND GOLF HANDICAP (2040m)

One tip for one winner, as Freereturn flies on the outside to get there late!!! So far, it is looking like last night’s racing may have cut up the track, as the inside seems to be off – particularly in the straight. I think the next race will tell us a little bit more. MIDNIGHT MARTINI does look hard to beat here, and the money suggests that too. She was a huge winner of the Cranbourne Cup, and it is a weaker field here. I think the only one that can beat her is EXTRA ZERO, who is racing consistently without winning. Next best SHEWAN and DESTINY’S KISS but it looks Midnight Martini’s race.

3 – MIDNIGHT MARTINI
1 – EXTRA ZERO
2 – SHEWAN
5 – DESTINY’S KISS

Race 4 – GROUP 3 TELSTRA PHONEWORDS STAKES (1200m)

Of course, when a race looks obvious, it never pans out that way!!! And so it proved, with Midnight Martini being beaten by Mourinho. I didn’t really think Mourinho could win, so that was a bit of a surprise. Mourinho also led, so while it is probably best to be off the rail, leaders can still win. That was probably pace-related, though, so it may pay to keep watching. The next race is for the three year olds at set weights and penalties, which looks to suit CAVALRY ROSE. She is well weighted under the conditions of the race and should be hard to beat. I think the danger is HIDDEN WARRIOR, who ran Pierro to a very narrow margin on debut. He may be looking for longer now and I don’t know if he’s ever run to that level again, but I’m thinking he needs to come into consideration merely on that! ESSAY RAIDER is coming across from South Australia, looks to be in the mix somewhere, while I do also rate CHOSEN MOMENT. But I’m keen on Cavalry Rose.

7 – CAVALRY ROSE
2 – HIDDEN WARRIOR
6 – ESSAY RAIDER
1 – CHOSEN MOMENT

Race 5 – GROUP 2 MITCHELTON WINES VASE (2040m)

Of course, our second tip Hidden Warrior gets up, with Cavalry Rose not looking comfortable around Moonee Valley at all. Ah well, at least I KNOW I’m going to tip a winner in the next race. Sound cocky? That’s because I’m extremely brash about IT’S A DUNDEEL. I reckon, if he was to be beaten here, it would be a bigger upset than when Pierro was beaten in the Caulfield Guineas. It just looks the perfect race for him, and on ratings, he just looks heads and shoulders above this field. He should win this and cement his position as Derby favourite. Behind him, I think NISOS, IF I COULD and VIKING STAR will fight out the placings but this is an opportunity for It’s A Dundeel to assert his superiority.

1 – IT’S A DUNDEEL
7 – NISOS
3 – IF I COULD
2 – VIKING STAR

Race 6 – GROUP 2 DRAKE INTERNATIONAL CUP (2500m)

WHAT. A. SHOCK. It’s A Dundeel goes down to Super Cool, and the Derby suddenly looks much more open than it did prior to the Vase. I’d still want to be on It’s A Dundeel, but Super Cool was dominant, so we’ll see next week! Adds a bit of interest anyway. But now, to a Melbourne Cup leadup in the Drake International Cup, the former Moonee Valley Cup. The Moonee Valley Cup has lost its lustre in recent years as a Melbourne Cup lead up, with the last Melbourne Cup winner to come through the MV Cup being Brew in 2000. I’m not thinking anything here will be a chance in the Melbourne Cup this year, but I do think there are a couple of horses which could finish top 10 this year. IRONSTEIN looms as the horse to beat. He is a non-winner of sorts, always seeming to find one better, but his run in the Herbert Power was strong when fourth and he was the best of those who raced near the pace. He’s in good form and should be hard to beat. MIDAS TOUCH has not been in good form, but he looms as the type of horse who may improve here. If he runs to his best, he’d towel this field. Still think he’s a chance, even when below his best. PRECEDENCE has won this race before, in 2010, and must be considered while IBICENCO is the query runner. But happy to be on Ironstein.

4 – IRONSTEIN
9 – MIDAS TOUCH
2 – PRECEDENCE
8 – IBICENCO

Race 7 – GROUP 2 SCHWEPPES CRYSTAL MILE (1600m)

Vatuvei gets the best ride in a race of shocking rides to win the Moonee Valley Cup. He needs a massive penalty to gain a start in the Melbourne Cup, and it’s highly unlikely that the double will be done this year unless Vatuvei wins the Lexus next week. And so we move on to the Crystal Mile, being run for the first time at weight for age this year. That seems weird to me, why have a 1600m weight for age race on the same day as a 2040m weight for age race? Surely they cannibalise each other…? Anyway, I’m very keen on RANGIRANGDOO here. He’s an absolute star, a warhorse who has been racing for years. He’s had his fair share of injuries, but every time he comes back as good as before. He may not be at his best now, but he’s not far from it. He was disappointing last start, but good before that, and if he runs to his second in the George Main he can blow this field away. He won the race when it was a handicap in 2009. SILENT ACHIEVER was good first up in New Zealand, albeit in much weaker company. She’s a promising mare who we’ll see a lot more of in the next few years, and she wouldn’t have been out of place in a Cox Plate. Next best TOKUGAWA, who goes alright at the track, and AMBIDEXTER.

1 – RANGIRANGDOO
7 – SILENT ACHIEVER
5 – TOKUGAWA
6 – AMBIDEXTER

Race 8 – GROUP 1 SPORTINGBET COX PLATE (2040m)

Silent Achiever and Rangirangdoo came away to fight it out – and we almost had the trifecta with Tokugawa running fourth! Now, it’s time for the Cox Plate.

Click here to read my comprehensive runner-by-runner preview of Australasia’s weight for age championship, the Cox Plate.

Race 9 – GROUP 3 TROJAN HAND TOOLS STAKES (1600m)

Ocean Park was stunning in victory in the Cox Plate. We did alright in our preview – our top four ran second, third, fourth and fifth. But we couldn’t nail the winner, All Too Hard. Ah well, there’s always next year! The final race is here, the Tesio Stakes – always an intriguing race. I’m keen on ZURELLA back to 1600m. I backed her in the Turnbull Stakes so I have to include her in the mix here. SKYERUSH was slaughtered last start and looks well placed in a race like this. Next best are the Toorak Handicap runner up SPIRIT SONG and PRETTY PINS for mine.

3 – ZURELLA
2 – SKYERUSH
1 – SPIRIT SONG
6 – PRETTY PINS

I hope you’ve had a winning day!

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