MOONEE VALLEY: COX PLATE Ė 24th October 2020
Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: RAIN - Rail: TRUE
Betting Portfolio ($50):
Track is rated a GOOD(4) as of Friday morning, but there is a bucket load of rain forecast for Friday night and again on Saturday morning so assuming we are looking at genuine SOFT track or worse come race time. Rail is staying TRUE for both meetings, so the ground should be chopping up after a few races today and expect them to be winning off the rails later on in the day and for it to be difficult for leaders to win.

Difficult program to line up the form on as the amount of rain is going to make a huge amount of difference, and the disappointingly small fields in most races mean there isnít a huge amount of value bets going around so will be investing cautiously. Traditional Cox Plate day with small fields and lots of short priced favourites, so simple win bets and confident quinellas are the way to go. We appreciate everyone has different financial circumstances in these troubled times, so stay home, stay safe and bet responsibly.

For the feature 100th running of the Cox Plate, it is pretty difficult to line up the form at the moment with the weather and amount of rain having a huge impact on several runners chances. On top of that, two of the internationals the 8-MAGIC WAND and 12-ARMORY are subject to vet checks after showing degrees of lameness which isnít a great lead into a feature race. The speed here looks to be the 3YO 14-GRANDSLAM clearly leading, from the 8-MAGIC WAND, with the 4-MASTER OF WINE and 1-KOLDING sitting next in the run. They will almost certainly be coming off the rails coming into the last two races of the weekend and invariably the pressure builds up early in a Cox Plate and you need to be able to make a long, sustained and clear run around the turn.

Going through the runners, the 1-KOLDING has always been viewed as a feature miler, and those types normally find one better in this race, but his last win over the 2000M was very impressive. He sat handy that day and had the race under his control a long way out, and the form from that race holds up as second place getter AVILIUS probably should have gone close to winning last weekís Caulfield Cup. Previous failure over this distance was on a heavy track and he is probably a query if the track gets to the worse side of soft. He flopped badly in this two previous Melbourne runs, and there was some suggestion he didnít like Caulfield (really whatís not to like about Caulfield), but really his on-speed racing style should be suited by MV. Impressive winning strike rate, and gets the run of the race here and clear run into the race on the bend from the barrier, and he does seem to be flying this time in. Strong winning chance despite a few queries, would probably go on top on a firm track. The 2-HUMIDOR was all but retired but seems to have found a reputable website selling the Fountain Of Youth as he has been going great this spring. Got the run of the race and the pressure up front 1st up to win the Feehan here, and solid strong finishing efforts last two runs heading into this. Even though his form suggests he handles it wet, he is definitely better on firm ground. Famously gave WINX a major scare in this race in 2017, but he was going better that time in. Drawn out here and drops to a long last, and probably needs to get a lucky split through the field here to be a factor and you would think the (9) and the (11) from this last two starts would have him covered today so place only. The 3-FIERCE IMPACT is another strong feature miler attempting the 2000M and seems to handle it wet OK. He can probably settle better than midfield here and in clear running from the barrier, and did drop too far back last start when worked home well, but well held by the (1). Not hopeless, and will probably loom into the race on the turn, but suspect he is better over a mile. The 4-MASTER OF WINE is one we were keen to take on last week in the Caulfield Cup, we didnít feel he had done enough this time in, and despite showing promise he hasnít lived up to his previous form and seriously contested a finish yet this spring. Probably not suited leading in a Caulfield Cup that turned into a swoopers race, likely to sit handy today, and he is one that will sit handy, definitely run 2000M and definitely handle a wet track, but he is also likely to be stuck on the inside in the worse going here and hard to have on current form. The 5-MUGATOO has been flying this time in up in Sydney, winning three in a row and then just beaten by one with a perfect ride in the Metropolitan last start. Interesting move to miss the Caulfield Cup and head to this race instead. Quite like them coming off 2000M+ runs into a tough, competitive Cox Plate, where a few are a query at the distance and where the pressure normally goes on early. WFA obviously the question mark, but he is nicely drawn to make a long sustained run into the race on the turn, and handles it wet, and he looks the best rough chance to us in this race and a genuine winning hope.

We fully admit our knowledge of the international runners isnít the best, but the Caulfield Cup seems to suit strong finishers and think you want more on-speed rolling types for the Cox Plate. The 6-ASPETAR has a good winning strike rate and also looks to have a very good turn of foot, he has drawn inside here and will probably drop back in the field, but actually looks to have the gears to take the splits and run into the race at the right time here so watch the betting market to see if he gets any support. The 7-SIR DRAGONET is in form, very lightly raced and handles it wet, but has a reputation of being a place getter. Drawn to get clear running and looks to need a long clear run into the race and reckon he might struggle to get around the turn here, so prefer place. The 8-MAGIC WAND will go forward and fought on OK to run 4th in this race last year before going on to win the Mackinnon. Those runs were both on firm tracks though and her wet track form does look a query, form this time in hasnít been as good and currently under an injury cloud so hard to make a case for. The 9-ARCADIA QUEEN has been a major player this spring, just had a slight set back after good 1st up run, hit the line well at Flemington, much discussed ride sticking to the inside and worse going in the Underwood, and then really no surprise to see her sit off a slow tempo back on a firm track and beat the short priced favourite last start. She has the burst turn of foot here, a middle barrier to quickly get into the race around the turn, and probably sits midfield in this Ė main query is really going to be a wet track. On a dry track she is the one to beat, suspect she drifts considerably on a track the worse side of slow where her finishing sprint may be diminished. They may also go along at a more solid tempo here compared to last start that may dull her finishing burst. Strong chance, but lots of variables. The 10-NETTOYER is drawn out and will drop back to a clear last, surprised punters with a $41 come from last (19th on the turn!) heavy track Doncaster win, but she had been finishing on really well last preparation. Three runs this time in and again she did the promising run on from well back thing last start so she looks ready to strike form. Winner this track and distance and her and the (1) are actually the only two runners here that have won previously at MV. Canít see her giving these such a big start and being a factor, but she probably runs better than the long shot odds suggest.

The 11-RUSSIAN CAMELOT is the most talked about horse this spring, and punters had got way, way ahead of themselves with his spring form and he was silly odds in this race a few weeks back. All his runs this time in have been very similar, settled forward early, stuck on and fought out the finish Ė he has been going the one speed most of the time though without really showing much turn of foot. Hence he got caught out last start as $1.40 favourite (ouch!) in a sit and sprint race where the (8) had the better turn of foot. Wet track is definitely in his favour, he does seem like a big track horse to us though and always had queries about him showing enough turn of foot here around the tight home turn to put himself into the race. Outside barrier draw actually isnít disastrous in our opinion, we would have been much more concerned if he drew inside as donít think he can take the gaps when required. Drawn out though Ė what do they do? Drop back to last think he will just grind away and work home into the placings, ridden midfield and in clear running and making a long sustained run around them he is probably a winning chance. Initial instinct was that we would take him on in this, but he is getting out to more appropriate odds now. Suspicion is that he will work into the finish but something with a better finishing burst will beat him today, but genuine chance. The 12-AMORY is the shortest priced of the international runners but under an injury cloud as of Thursday, and he actually has wining 1400M form which is very unusual for an international runner. Looks to have a good finishing burst, but he is also likely to get caught up in the middle of the field here and well back and might need some luck in running and donít think he represents any value at the moment under these conditions. The 13-PROBABEEL has been consistently racing at the top level for several seasons now, excellent winning strike rate, excellent wet track form, and coming off a good win with a light weight in the Epsom. She has drawn inside and can probably sit in the first half of the field here which is a big plus, as suspect they are going to come off the rails in the straight here and give her a run, but she probably needs to get away from the inside on the turn. Pretty hard to fault her form, and she looks to have the gears to win this so is a strong chance. Much talk about why the 14-GRANDSLAM is in the field, but on-speed rolling 3YO stayers with no weight have a pretty good record in this race, from 11 runners they have won 3 and placed 3 times, often at long odds. We liked him at odds in the Caulfield Guineas (thanks for the trifecta too!), coming off a tough Flemington run, and going forward here he is going to run a decent race and he does seem to be one on the improve. Never seen a wet track though, and whilst we think he will run an OK race, we actually thought he would be closer to $50 so the $21 does seem unders at the moment. Adds a lot of interest to the race though and thankfully a clear leader. The 15-BUCKHURST got bumped to first emergency in this field, raced handy and presented at the top of the straight in the Caulfield Cup, but got out stayed to the line. Stable did have queries on him over the 2400M though and thought he would be better over the 2000M today. Good turn of foot and can race handy in space if he gets into the field and likely to start much shorter than the current odds if he did get a run, but only a place chance off the last run.

So many variables trying to line these up, but assuming a genuine wet track and assuming they will be coming off the rails in the straight after 16 previous races this weekend. Think that means the gaps are going to open for the consistent, proven wet tracker 13-PROBABEEL who looks the safest bet in this racing on-speed and bursting through at the right time as top pick and suspect she is going to shorten considerably come race time. Really liked the win of the 1-KOLDING last start and will run into the race at the right time as the main danger, and respect the finishing burst of the 9-ARCADIA QUEEN and her chances improve the drier the track is. Not going to talk you out of backing the 11-RUSSIAN CAMELOT (which we thought we would be doing) as think he will get out to worthwhile odds, but also expect he finds one better today. Best of the internationals is the 6-ASPETAR and best roughie for exotics is definitely the 5-MUGATOO who will be able to make a long sustained run on a wet track here dropping back in distance and pretty confident he will run a race today at odds. Punting plan is to have something the win on the top two chances and a little something each way on the best roughie.

Been heading towards the 3YO classic staying events all spring and showed a huge amount of talent as a 2YO. Ran on well 1st up, and then hit the line here really well in the Stutt Stakes when beaten by a classy on-pacer. Happy to forgive disappointing trip to Sydney when he got a solid bump when he was about to make a run, though still failed to finish the race off. On his previous form he is the one to beat here, handles it wet, drawn out, strong finisher (which should be the racing pattern) and looks like he stays and the $6 odds look generous on his form if you forget that Sydney run.

QUINELLA: Race 3: 7-BELLA NIPOTINA#1,3,8 x $3 = 100%
One of several runners today who ran well on this day last year. Nice win on soft track first up, got thrown in the deep end of a Group 1 sprint second up, and then fought on well behind two good ones last start at Caulfield. Has better form than all of these, drawn well to go forward in a small field and should be fighting out the finish at around $4. Back each way and save on a quinella with the 1-VALAQUENTA fitter for the two runs in, the 3-ROCK THE RING as the value runner swooping late, and the 8-MILDRED who would be right in this if she could regain some of her previous good form.

QUINELLA: Race 5: 8-FASCINO#3,5,10 x $3 = 100%
Can be a frustrating horse to follow, but she won on this day last year in the 3YO fillies race. Had no luck at all first up when held up for runs back on the rails when seemed to have plenty to give, and disappointed second up but suspect the track was too firm that day. Should appreciate the wet track here, and she likes to loop off fast speeds and there is a stack of speed in this race and that should be the racing pattern today. Happy to give her another chance today at around $8 and save on a quinella with the poorly weighted, but in flying form 3-SOVEREIGN AWARD who they seem to have found the trick to (hint: its J.Kah), the 5-BONVINCI who has very similar form and looks ready to do something today and the 10-PARADEE who we suspect will get extremely well backed as a previous feature winner this track and distance, fitter for the two runs in and meeting the (3) a whopping 5kgs better off from the last meeting.

QUINELLA: Race 8: 1,4,12 boxed x $3 = 100%
Has been around a while, but that also means we know him pretty well, always takes a few runs each time in to peak and simply loves it wet. Ran on well first two runs this time in, and then was hitting the line well late when stepping up in distance to the 2400 last start at Caulfield. Wet track form is outstanding, and not fussed by an outside barrier for a drop back swooping type. Pretty confident he does something today and loving the $16 on offer so looks a great value each way bet. Save on a box quinella with the solid stayer the 4-SHARED AMBITION and respect the wet tracker 12-POLLY GREY even though she is unknown at the distance as she has been racing well,

Frustrating horse to follow, but has a stack of talent on his day. Too short down the straight 1st up when widest runner on outside rail, and then was starting to wind up well late in a swoopers race 2nd up. Up to 1600M and probably not suited under this weight scale, but he does look to be running into form and in a small field we might get some funny tactics and likely swooping racing pattern is likely to suit. Donít be surprised if he does something today at around $23 and likely drifter come race time.

Coming into the last race off a day with small fields we might be in need a value collect and we have been following this one and think he has a fair bit of ability. Drop back type who will be suited if they are running on at the end of the day, showed a lot of promise in first two starts and then overcame several bumps and closed gaps last start to win, so that win was better than it looked. Think he might be one on the improve and happy to come home on him at $26 in a day of little value.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 3: 5-PORTLAND SKY at around $3.
Tricky day for a Lay of the Day with small fields and short priced favourites. This one was unlucky at Caulfield two starts back and then probably slightly disappointing down the straight last start. Inside barrier here, never seen it wet, and likely to drop well back in a small sprint field and not sure they are going to go that quickly up front here for him to get out and run into the race. Slightly concerned about the number of winning dangers but not interested at the odds on offer and happy to risk.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into enough to buy an international runner for next yearís race.
Small fields and MV are normally good for the Poor Manís Quaddie Ė the place getter in four races. We just need to hope the field sizes hold up for three place dividends after scratchings. Mainly we want to come home on the wet tracker Race 8: 1-GALLIC CHIEFTAIN who looks great value at $4.50 the place, but we need to find some legs earlier in the day to build up the dividend. The Race 4: 6-YES BABY YES should lob on speed in a small field and be around the finish somewhere, the Race 6: 7-JOHNNY GET ANGRY is a solid staying type who will appreciate the 2000M and likely run on pattern, and the Race 7: 5-DR DRILL is a proven wet tracker and fit and in form who has been carrying big weights so should also be around the finish. Just hope we are still going into the last leg as looking at around a $600 collect for a $5 outlay.

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