Friday, October 24, 2008

Cox Plate Preview with Professor and the Captain:

Lets talk Cox Plate:

Weak, weak looking Cox Plate field. One has to think that the field would have been more interesting had the Hussler focused on this race instead of the ill-fated 2400 metre tilt. We said it a lot on this blog, backers of the Hussler at $2 for this race and the Caulfield Cup were likely to end up with egg on their faces and after a weak run to the line last Saturday he is not even here. You won't get your money back. Alan Eskander and Rob Waterhouse and that bald guy that Andrew Voss seems to love are thinking about giving the rest of the carnival a miss and going to Hawaii. You have made some very bad people happy, stupid fans of the Hussler and you should all be very ashamed.

And if that wasn't enough, you are now backing Septimus (who would have been my horse if it was Septimus Prime) after beating nothing in Ireland and the books will smile more.

Anyway, Cox Plate. Weak field dominated by a 3 y.o. filly and a Kiwi horse that will likely get too far back at the Valley. I'm avoiding the favourites, though of the two I would take Princess Coup - while the Captain's concern (to follow) about a lack of pace is a real problem, I think that the Kelt form has been franked while the Sydney fillies form is a big ???. For my $$$$ I am looking elsewhere - Theseo and Alamosa are the ones to follow here. At big odds I will take a stayer as well each way. Was leaning towards Zarita, but prior success at the Valley leads me to Master O'Reilly.

1. SIRMIONE (59.0) 8

Professor: Intriguing runner. I thought that the Caulfield Cup may have suited him better on the lead in to the Melbourne Cup but is such a smart horse in good hands that this may be a winnable race for him. Any good kind of a run and watch the Cummings $$$ trail.

Captain: As we have seen in his Mackinnon and Australian Cup wins, has more than enough ability to beat this field. However, Moonee Valley with it's 173m straight, hosted neither of those two races. Thinking you'll be better off waiting for this one to boom home down the vast expanses of the Flemington straight in another Mackinnon, unless a miracle path opens up along the rail. More likely, he'll be 13 deep round the turn, and by the time he gets warm we'll already know who's won the 2008 Cox Plate.

2. MALDIVIAN (59.0) 6
Professor: Likely his best trip after the Caulfield Cup showing. Can only strip fitter after the Caulfield Cup and as an on pace type not without a chance.

Captain: You would think he is just not going well enough. Will be getting swamped as they start to turn and after a tough Caulfield Cup run, I just can't have him. I'd be sure that the only reason he is running is the lack of quality in the field this year. Pass.

3. ZIPPING (59.0) 5

Professor: Very short odds for a stayer who will get a long way back at the Valley. Needs a genuine tempo up front but you can say that for a lot of these (Princess Coup, Master, Sirmione, C'est).

Captain: Similar to Sirmione, will get a long way back and as such, you would think Moonee Valley won't suit. His results here have been good however, and no matter what anyone else says, this is his best trip. Provided the speed is on. Was 6.5L 8th in this race in a far better field last year. I think he'll run well without winning, just to top him off for another 4th in the Melbourne Cup. But seriously, I am not bitter about him ruining my hot Melbourne Cup streak at all.

4. THESEO (59.0) 12

Professor: Defied drawing the carpark for a superb win last start. Drawn wide again, but the combination of career best form and his on pace tendencies make this my best tip. In 2007, he won over 2,200 metres in Brisbane so the trip not beyond him. If they were giving out MacDonalds Vouchers to a most improved horse, it's him.

Captain: Oh boy. Any other year I would scoff at suggestions of Theseo winning a Cox Plate, but he's in with a good shot at this one. On pace, yes. Good form, yes. Melbourne way of going, ??? I've seen many a Sydney horse, particularly those Waterhouse-trained, get it all wrong when they reverse direction. Especially at the Valley. That's my only knock on him. In with a big show.

5. MASTER O'REILLY (59.0) 11

Professor: This is just a run for the Master one imagines. He should be rock hard on the first Tuesday in November. Look for him to be running on late and if he is, definitely start thinking about the Cup! At big odds, his fitness and past successes at this track makes him an intriguing each way proposition.

Captain: Danny O'Brien has said as much, that he took one look at the possible Cox Plate field and thought "why not"? Just a final top-off run. Should be too dour to be winning this at this stage of the campaign. If he wins this, I will have to question his dourness to win the Melbourne Cup.

6. RAHEEB (59.0) 10

Professor: Diabolical performance as a hotpot in the Epsom. Clearly didn't handle the soft track. Returned a little better in his first crack in Melbourne in the Toorak. This would take a big improvement but probably has it in him.

Captain: Wary that I trashed the prospects of Barbaricus last week and have eaten humple punter's pie for dinner every night this week, I will simply say this: not for me.

7. ALAMOSA (57.5) 7

Professor: My other big runner in this one. Last start was sooooooo impressive. Back to WFA which is a concern, but hard to leave out after the last one. Remember, he wasn't far away from the Hussler and co over what is clearly that horses best trip. Looked like he had another 400 metres in him (plus change!) in the Toorak.

Captain: I sound like a broken record but Mick Price said during the week that he hadn't even considered the Cox Plate until he looked at the possible line-up. Not sure about this fella at WFA. I am probably going to leave him out, think he is under the odds, but certainly wouldn't shock me if he got up.

8. C'EST LA GUERRE (57.5) 3

Professor: Nice run in the Yalumba where he was the only one who defied the bias to come pretty close to the first three. Inclined to risk but not without reservations.

Captain: Any moisture on the track, no matter how seemingly insignificant, and he comes into calculations. Does he have the class to win? Let's ask!
WHAB: "So CLG, can you spring a bit of an upset in the Coxy?!"
CLG (in deep Max Walker-ish voice): "That bloody great big storm cloud up there says I can...!"

9. PRINCESS COUP (57.0) 9

Professor: Passing because at those odds you want to avoid something that will get so far back at the Valley. Like many others will need some serious pace on out the front. Red Ruler and Nom De Jeu didn't half frank that Kelt formline last start.

Captain: She's a great mare and you wouldn't begrudge her this, but where will she sit? Can she mow down Samantha Miss giving her 9.5kg and a big head start? Would have kept C. Newitt in the saddle for this one, no matter how good Opium Bosson rides her across the ditch. The Valley is unique. C.Newitt knows his way around there. A massive chance nonetheless.

10. GALLANT TESS (57.0) 4

Professor: Looks to be giving up a class edge to Theseo. That combined with the fact that 2000 metres has never looked like what Tess wants means I am looking elsewhere.

Captain: Wouldn't be the silliest bet of all time, but I don't like her chances at the trip, WFA and the Valley circuit. Really looks to be best suited in handicap races, probably in Sydney. I will save her for such an occasion.

11.ZARITA (55.5) 1

Professor: Flopped in the Turnbull last start, though runs prior had a lot of merit. Could do something at hopefully very big odds. Anyway keep your eyes on the Z for later at least.

Captain: If she can park just behind the leaders, I think she can run a nice race at nice odds. You have to forgive horses who aren't named Weekend Hussler for one bad run as well. Hyland put her run down to being ridden too close to the speed. Will throw her in a few fancy trifectas and first four's, can't really see any reason not to. Would be a bit of a surprise if she won, place preferred.

12. SAMANTHA MISS (47.5) 2

Professor: Hard to knock. First go at this kind of trip, and you have to have some concerns about coming from 3 y.o. Fillies races in Sydney to the Cox though. So I guess I have a couple of big doubts. The Sydney 3.y.o.s didn't really have their form franked in the Guineas either.

Captain: Yes the Sydney 3.y.o. fillies that she has smashed all Spring long look below average. And yes Miss Finland could only manage 6th as a 3.y.o. in this race. But Samantha Miss did knock off Sebring who is a pretty handy customer at the back end of the 2.y.o season. And she will not have to contend with Fields Of Omagh, El Segundo and Pompeii Ruler as Miss Finland did. Princess Coup, Zipping and Alamosa don't seem quite so imposing. Think she'll get a handy spot from the gate and will win. If she gets the trip and handles the track and doesn't win, it will almost certainly be a Glen Boss butchering, a la Snitzel in the 2005 Magic Millions.


TheMelbourneCupGuide said...

Hi Professor.

Great summary of the Cox Plate and I agree cannot really touch the two favs at those odds.

I think Princess Coup will the top 3 at least, but Samantha Miss, will be mid field or worse, I cannot see it coming around that long bend to the 170m+ straight and winning, it will have to cover massive ground. She has been winning in Sydney by coming wide down the outside, not going to really happen in the Cox, but if she does it will be super, super impressive.

I will be on some value with Sirmione (probably) each way, not really suited, but has defeated the favouriate twice in big races on that alone I will take the odds

Captain Carnage said...

I think Sirmione is going to be in a worse position than Samantha Miss in the run and wider round the turn. The key is the 47.5kg...even if she comes wide and gets back she'll be absolutely flying home with nothing on her back. The value looks to be C'est La Guerre if there's just a single drop of rain. Otherwise, I'm starting to warm to the Theseo Cox Plate tilt...four words I'd never thought I'd use in the same sentence!

Professor Chaos said...

Theseo is in my star-stable!
As for the Cox, best bets have come out today and suggested that the Miss will not just win but will bolt in! Seems over confident to me, but you never know.

Theseo for me the top and I will pick a stayer based on how the market plays out tomorrow.

Captain Carnage said...

There'll be shadowy figures dressed in black (with the words on their backs "CLG Army", faintly visible in the moonlight) wielding what look suspisciously like watering cans in the dead of the Moonee Valley night I reckon!