MOONEE VALLEY : COX PLATE - 26th October 2019
Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: SHOWERS - Rail: TRUE

Betting Portfolio ($50):
We have had a few warm days at the end of the week, but storms and rain and a windy change are forecast Friday and into Saturday. The rail is staying TRUE for both the Friday night Manikato and Saturday Cox Plate meeting. There shouldnít be enough rain to really affect the track, maybe just take the edge of it. We have had leader biased tracks quite a few times in recent years for these meetings on good tracks, but with a bit of rain around, and in particular the forecast wind we should get even racing and maybe even a tendency towards those running on late.

We have a pretty even Cox Plate field this year, and rather than picking something to win, it sort of more comes down to the one you can find the least faults with. Do you go with the retiree? Or the one with a hip replacement? None of these are really blowing spring apart, so a lot of this is going to come down to luck in the run, getting a good position and making a run at the right time. Also note we have a capacity field of 14 for this race first time post WINX. So the lack of real stand out local contender does put the international horses right in this race, and like last week with the Caulfield Cup it makes it pretty hard to find a serious, confident bet in the race.

You can make a case for many of these, and also pot the chances of them at the same time so going to go through them all to try and sort them out. The 1-BLACK HEART BART has been flying after a few runs in from retirement, both times he has got a perfect on speed run in slowly run races and we always had him marked as 2000M being as far as he wants. 2-AVILIUS was beaten as a short priced favourite last start, and does seem more beatable in Melbourne, but is suited running on out wide from this barrier if that is the pattern and the odds look pretty good as last run really wasnít that bad. Pretty sure the 4-HARLEM would be better elsewhere than MV, though he does like 2000M and takes a few runs to find best. We would tip the 5-HOMESMAN on top for sure based on the Underwood Stakes run when he was ridden far too far back, but was pretty disappointing when given every chance in the Caulfield Stakes and would prefer him ridden forward, so the outside barrier isnít going to help. Can forgive him one bad run, but still looks to have the task today. 6-KINGS WILL DREAM has made an amazing comeback after suffering a shocking injury in this race last year, has drawn a wide barrier but no reason why they couldnít go forward here and does have some chance as a horse hitting his peak. 7-TE AKU SHARK appeals as a new form line to many of these, untried at the 2000M, and at MV, but in the good old days a solid Epsom Handicap run was often a good pointer to this race. Just likely to be another one dropping back from an outside barrier and trying to loop them on the bend. The 11-CAPE OF GOOD HOPE was impressive winning at his first start in Australia and you would think would have plenty of improvement to come and is one of the few to be well drawn. Listen to riding tactics here, it would make sense to ride a bit more forward and he would be right in the finish if they did on form and should be strong at the end of 2000M, whereas a few are suspect over the trip. The 12-MYSTIC JOURNEY is the unknown quantity, showed last two starts she wasnít going to be the next WINX (which she was never going to be anyway), even effort last start, but the big plus for her is that she has drawn well, can probably take a good position in the run and she is the one who can sprint when the breaks come in what may be a sit and sprint race. The 13-VERRY ELLEGANT has brilliance, but can also mix her form, think she is far better on wet tracks, so watch and see how much rain comes, but just canít see her getting around at MV in a sit and sprint race, she is best coming to the outside off a fast speed. The 14-CASTELVECCHIO creates huge interest as the 2000M proven 3YO and they have an outstanding record in this race, but normally only if they go forward and this horse is a backmarker. Jockey Williams has been known to spring an unorthodox ride and from an inside barrier do listen out if they intend to go forward, to be honest if they do he probably wins this. Skipping the emergencies as they are unlikely to get a run, only interest would be if the 17-GAILO CHOP got into the field to add some much need speed.

Of the internationals, well your guess is as good as ours, but as we pointed out last week the Japanese runners have a fantastic record when they come over and it far, far exceeds the record of the many Europeans that have come over in the last 20 years. Just in general we canít see most of the internationals being suited by a sit sprint race, but the obvious contender is the Japanese runner and favourite 9-LYS GRACIEUX. She has drawn wide, but seeing there is next to no speed surely they will go forward on her, so listen for riding tactics and we appreciate most speed maps donít have her on speed. On form she looks to be the one to beat, if she leads or sits on pace think she would go close to winning, dropping back we are not so sure. No knocks on her, but just canít take $3.50 on an unknown horse and we have had so many hyped internationals flop over the years, but if you are confident go for it.

So how do we sort these all out? Not really sure! The speed map is going to be crucial, it looks like a muddling messy race, sure to be plenty of hard luck stories. Doesnít look like the third emergency 17-GAILO CHOP gets into the field, so itís really hard to work out what leads here and suspect they have to go forward on the favourite 9-LYS GRACIEUX and the 1-BLACK HEART BART will be up there, suspect we will also see the 3YO 14-CASTELVECCHIO pushed forward and that leaves the 12-MYSTIC JOURNEY getting a perfect sit. With lots of backmarkers drawn wide they will invariably take off early from the back and try and swoop around them, but think that means you want to be on something well drawn, and splitting through the field at the right time. And so after all that, and after the entire spring, we actually end up back where it all begun with the 12-MYSTIC JOURNEY as the top pick, just drawn the right barrier, on speed and she has a better turn of foot then these if it turns into a sprint home whilst the others are working hard out wide. The 11-CAPE OF GOOD HOPE looks over the odds to us as a horse that may have a lot of upside as the main danger, and plenty of respect for the 3YO 14-CASTELVECCHIO as the most likely to cut the corner when they all go for home too early out wide. Obvious wining chance to the favourite 9-LYS GRACIEUX, just canít back at those odds, and respect for the 2-AVILIUS, and 6-KINGS WILL DREAM. Not a race we have a huge amount of confidence about, and probably be backing the three selections straight out to win.

Often Cox Plate day is about small fields and short priced favourites, but even though there are a few shorties going around today we are not overly enthused about some of them and think there are solid other winning chances. Betting strategy is straight out wins bets with a few saver bets. We have noticed our top pick win strike rate has been shocking the last few weeks so we really need to land some winners today.

BEST WIN: Race 8: 10-SIKANDARABAD $6 WIN
BEST WIN: Race 8: 9-PACODALI $2 WIN
This guy has been racing really well this spring, but just hasnít found the right race. We are surprised that they didnít try and go for the Caulfield Cup through the Coogny, instead he has been dropped back to mile races. Huge run 1st up in the Lawrence 1st up at WFA, flew home late here in a leader dominated Feehan, went to the lead which is not normal racing pattern in the Naturalism and then came home late hard again in the Toorak. Looks primed to win here, and will appreciate the speed on in this race with a few that can go forward (though the 11-ROX THE CASTLE is scratched), and track should be allowing them to run on late in the day. Confident win bet at around $5.50, and save on the main danger the 9-PACODALI who was really good with weight late 1st up and will also appreciate the speed on in this.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 2: 6-LIKE TO THINK SO $3 EW
Small field, and basically think whatever leads here wins, so surprised about the odds of $11 on offer on this one. 1st up, but has good career stats, has been competitive in the city before and should just jump and run here. Looks a great value bet in a small field.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 4: 6-DONíTTELLTHEBOSS $3 EW
QUINELLA: Race 4: 6-DONíTTELLTHEBOSS, 1-WAYUPINTHESKY x $2.50 = 250%
QUINELLA: Race 4: 6-DONíTTELLTHEBOSS#3,5,7 x $1.50 = 50%
We have been following this one this spring and she is going along OK. Deceptively good 8th down the straight, then ran well behind a few smarts ones here at a night meeting, and thought the Caulfield run was pretty good on a track that was favouring leaders when she had to make ground from the back. She will sit off them, so will need some pressure up front, but if they are running on she may run over the top of them here. Back each way at around $7, and the main danger here is the 1-WAYUPINTHESKY who was good winning at Flemington when well backed and then wasnít in the right part of the track last start, so save on a main quinella with her, and again with the 3-VILLAMI, 7-VARDA and roughie 5-FREE THRILLS.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 7: 8-SULLY $4 EW
We have tipped this guy a few times and he is desperately overdue for a win, last win was two years ago now and win strike rate of 2 from 18 is starting to look a bit wonky. Looked home in the Queen Elizabeth last spring when faded late, and missed the bob here in the JRA Cup, we are starting to wonder if he is not that genuine or just due? Fitter for the 4 runs in and the 2400M run, form from last race looks strong and most importantly there is simply no speed in this race so he gets to dictate on speed or out in front here. Think that makes him a good each way bet at around $10.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 10: 6-SNOGGING $3 WIN
QUINELLA: Race 10: 6-SNOGGING#1,4,5 x $3 = 100%
Mare with a bit of ability, but often drops back in her races and doesnít have the best of luck and win strike rate isnít the best. Just looks ready to ping though and has struck a winnable race here. Fitter for the 2 runs in where she has been competitive, and those two Adelaide runs before she went out for a spell were sensational, if she repeats those she wins this. Inside barrier may be an issue here, we will need them to come off the rails and her to drive through but think she is ready to win today at around $13. Back straight out, and save on a quinella with the 1-CONSENSUS leading with weight, 4-MUSIC BAY on speed and Sydney visitor and main danger the 5-AMANGIRI and we are going to come home on her to place in our All Up bet as a back up plan.

BEST ROUGH: Race 1: 10-BELLA NIPOTINA $2 EW
We literally never, ever, bother tipping in the early 2YO races as they are just a raffle. But we are making a special exception for this one, who we think was one of the black book runs of the week from Caulfield Cup week. Jumped, sat handy, went to go for a gap with plenty to give, and it closed, went back to the inside and the gap closed, came around runners and still ran on. Huge run, has the benefit of race experience over most of these, well drawn and so keen to have a bet at $14 we are breaking a 20 year rule of not tipping in these races!

BEST ROUGH: Race 6: 4-FABULANSKI $1.50 EW
Taking this one on spec as form of 9th and 9th is a bit hard to follow. But fitter for the 2 runs in, 1st up was far too short, 2nd up he took off wide and early and hit the lead and faded late. Has won over trips before when leading and think he goes to clear lead in a small field here and depending on how the track is racing he may prove hard to run down. Either way think you will see a much better run today and worth a little interest bet at around $26.

LAY OF THE DAY:
TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a new outfit for Cup Week.
ALL UP PLACE:
PLACE: Race 4: 6-DONíTTELLTHEBOSS
PLACE: Race 7: 8-SULLY
PLACE: Race 8: 10-SIKANDARABAD
PLACE: Race 10: 6-SNOGGING
Back to the Poor Manís Quaddieís, but they do seem to go best at MV. We are doubling up on our existing bets, but hopefully most of these should be in the finish for about a $300 collect.

The Tips:

Race 1: 10-BELLA NIPOTINA, 13-HARD ROCK GIRL, 9-MILDRED
Race 2: 6-LIKE TO THINK SO, 5-FINE DANE, 4-ESPERANCE
Race 3: 1-FASCINO, 4-ASPECT RATIO, 3-LA FALAISE
Race 4: 6-DONíTTELLTHEBOSS, 1-WAYUPINTHESKY, 3-VILLAMI
Race 5: 1-CONDOíS EXPRESS, 7-CIELO DíORO, 9-RUUCA
Race 6: 5-SOUL PATCH, 3-SERIOUS LIAISON, 4-FABULANSKI
Race 7: 8-SULLY, 7-HUMIDOR 4-DOWNDRAFT
Race 8: 10-SIKANDARABAD, 9-PACODALI, 3-DREAMFORCE
Race 9: 12-MYSTIC JOURNEY, 11-CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, 14-CASTELVECCHIO
Race 10: 6-SNOGGING, 5-AMANGIRI, 4-MUSIC BAY