The Wolf’s runner by runner guide on the Group One William Hill Cox Plate.
Happy Trails ($101)
Lines up in his fifth Cox Plate! And even more remarkably it’ll be the seventh straight year he’ll run on Cox Plate day having contested a Red Anchor Stakes and a Crystal Mile earlier in his career. His two runs this time in have been very good, making late ground but he can’t win. He tackles this just third-up which says to The Wolf that there are other main targets in mind. Perhaps even Perth?
Black Heart Bart ($19)
Winx put him to the sword in the Caulfield Stakes which gives us a pretty good guide as to where he sits in the pecking order. He is a genuine Group One horse in every sense of the statement, but he isn’t a superstar. Has never finished outside of the top two in nine starts for Darren Weir. That run looks set to end in the Cox Plate but he could sneak third with even luck.
This horse is airbourne. He looked gone over the past 12 months but John O’Shea has done a magical job of not only getting him winning again but running clear new career peaks. He was rolled by Winx in the Tramway first-up but hasn’t looked back since. In the Turnbull he smashed Jameka who of course romped home in a Caulfield Cup. Doubt he can go to another level again though, which is what he’ll have to do to beat Winx. Worth considering that this horse is on a Melbourne Cup path too.
Was off the screen in the Epsom with Fabrizio breaking new land speed records but roared home to nail Dibayani right on the line. It was a monster win. Prior to that he finished only 1.3L off Winx in the George Main. That obviously puts him somewhere in the mix. The big chink in his armor is his prior Melbourne form. He lost a leg down when sent north.
Happy Clapper ($81)
As age catches up to Happy Clapper, he races more and more like a 2000m horse. He simply ins’t sharp enough for the mile anymore. He has been warming into his races nicely and his narrow Epsom third now has him cherry ripe for this trip. The Wolf has no doubt he is spot on for his spring grand final and from a lovely barrier (4), he’ll give cheek. Has run second to Winx in a Doncaster. Have him as the big value for third.
Highly-rated international who provides the x-factor in the race. Adelaide of course recently pinched this race however, this year’s Plate is much deeper. His patten is to race right on the speed so with connections playing their hand in selecting barrier 2 at the draw, he could lead this field up. He is by Monsun, the same sire as Fiorente and Protectionist, but doesn’t get a trip. Perhaps one minor concern is much of his recent good form is over the mile. Respect him but betting around him.
Awesome Rock ($61)
He is a few lengths off Black Heart Bart. Who is a few lengths off Winx. Doesn’t bode well for his winning chances. The Corstens yard have said they’re happy to take up the front runner role. At least there is a designated leader. Just don’t want him falling in a heap and back into the face of Winx.
Chasing 13 straight wins and back-to-back Cox Plate victories. Last year she won the Plate by a widening five lengths. However, most punters have forgotten that she also smashed the track record that day. There is a real sense of timing about the mighty mare. Her brilliant Doncaster win was fourth-up last time in. Her work at the Valley throughout the week has been brilliant. Should stalk the speed from barrier 3. Regardless of how the race is run, she’ll get her chance.
Lucia Valentina ($20)
Fresh. Tick. 2000m. Tick. Wet track. Potential tick. If the rain comes as forecasted this mare has conditions made to order for the Cox Plate. This race has been mapped out for her since winning the Queen Elizabeth over the autumn. Her Underwood Stakes run was very good on a rock hard Caulfield track. She’s primed to run right up to her best, which has her in among the few third place chances.
Yankee Rose ($14)
The last three-year-old filly to lob in the Cox Plate was Surround way back in 1976! Two have placed since in Samantha Miss and Slight Chance. Yankee Rose ran second to Global Glamour in the Flight Stakes, who then won the Guineas, before beating Swear and Prized Icon in the Spring Champion Stakes. She ticked the distance box there, running sharp sectionals between the 400-200m. In most years you’d give her a sneaky hope. Against Winx and Hartnell? Not even with the massive weight allowance.
The Wolf’s Top 5
3. Happy Clapper
5. Lucia Valentina
Odds as of 11am Thursday, October 20.
Bet on the latest Cox Plate market.