MOONEE VALLEY: COX PLATE - 23rd October 2021
Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: SHOWERS - Rail: TRUE

Betting Portfolio ($50):
The track is rated a GOOD(4) as of Friday morning, but there is proper rain forecast for Friday night and showers again Saturday morning so assuming we will be on a genuine soft track for the races. They are keeping the rail TRUE for both meetings, if the rain doesnít come suspect the racing pattern will favour those on-speed, if the rain does come they should be coming off the rails in the later races and they should be able to run on and win OK. Solid rain forecast overnight after the Friday night meeting and then showers during the day

Keep an eye out on scratchings with quite a few horses multiple acceptors across this weekend Ė we have tried to guess who is going where in the tips. As often is the case with Cox Plate day fields are on the smaller side and plenty of short-priced favourites who should go close to winning. The shortest of the day is 3YO Race 7: 1-FORGOT YOU in Moonee Valley Vase, he is a horse we have been following and have a lot of time for and would have loved to have backed him in the Cox Plate if they had gone there. We have tipped him, but actually think he is slightly vulnerable today and no value in a big field with good value roughies like the 15-CAPITAL LEGEND, 3-JUNGLE MAGNATE and 6-CHEERFUL MOMENT.

For the feature Cox Plate, just be wary of the multiple runners under injury clouds from vet checks, being the 3-GOLD TRIP and 4-CALLSIGN MAV. We are doing the form preview Thursday night and assuming they are both running. There isnít a definitive leader in the race, though it is quite possible one of the internationals will take up the running. Most likely is the NZ 4-CALLSIGN MAV and you would assume they go forward here on the favourite 1-ZAAKI and sit just behind or outside the leader (but not on the rails), with the 3YOs 10-CAPTIVANT, 9-ANAMOE likely pushing forward and the 2-DALASAN likely more forward today. It is really up to one of the internationals to make this a solid 2000M race otherwise it is going to turn into a sit and sprint for home.

Comments on each Cox Plate runner:

1-ZAAKI is the winter sensation that has been all the rage for this race for some time now, but things havenít totally gone to plan once he got to Melbourne. Dominant win 1st up in Sydney, then even though he won he just looked a bit wobbly at Sandown in the Underwood, shifting in a bit and not quite as dominant. Race totally fell apart at Caulfield, slow early, he definitely didnít like it when the pressure went on and they went for home early, and then he didnít seem to totally extend when in between horses, even though he wasnít beaten very far. Guess you always need to forgive them one bad run and the race wasnít run to suit, but he does look vulnerable today. That was a very firm track at Caulfield and will strike a track with more give today, and like that he has drawn middle in a small field Ė think that means he goes forward and sits outside horses in room, really donít want to back him racing tight inside horses, he doesnít seem to wind up properly when racing tight under pressure. Regular jockey back on board a big plus. Bit worried about him first start at MV, much tighter track and not sure he is as dominant Melbourne way of going, and if they go slowly here the pressure might go on 600M out like last time which is often how a Cox Plate is run. To us he definitely looks vulnerable today, thing is not sure there is that much that can beat him here. Basically undecided.

2-DALASAN has been a bit hit and miss over the years and probably never quite got to the level that was expected but still a very handy horse on his day. Fitter for the three runs in, ran on well out wide in the Rupert Clarke with the speed on and then change of tactics worked a treat in the Epsom when he went forward and looked the winner about 50M out before being swamped late. Not sure that race has been a good form guide for the Cox Plate, with only 4 winners coming through the Epsom in the last 30 years and plenty have tried. Likely to go forward again here and could get a pretty good run on-speed on the rails. Has been well held at this level before, but he is a decent rough chance to run a place so is a good runner for your exotics to add value.

3-GOLD TRIP is an international under a vet check cloud and that is never a good thing Ė you donít play a footballer going into a Grand Final with niggling injuries. Super hard to line up the internationals and fully admit it is not our thing, we prefer to bet on known horses we can line up. From his videos he looks a strong staying type that grinds home from back in the field, struggle to see the race here being run to suit around a tight MV circuit, think he would want the speed to go on a long way from home and to make a long sustained run at them. Prefer to risk.

4-CALLSIGN MAV is the second horse being checked over, not sure we call him an international from exotic NZ, but anyway. Solid NZ form and some give in the ground should suit and looks the likely leader here so is a very important horse in this race regardless. Well beaten at only start over the 2000M and the betting market should be more across the NZ form, so as rank outsider suggests he really isnít going to be a factor in this.

5-MOíUNGA has been racing extremely well this spring and always shown a stack of ability. Stable mate to the favourite the (1) and you know what happens when stable mates races each other (hint: it doesnít end well for punters). Beat the (6) first up in a tough finish, just failed to run down a seriously good horse at Flemington, and solid with weight in the Epsom. Drop back, strong finishing horse suited if that is the racing pattern. Has won over 2000M, but suspect a mile is his best distance. Hard to win this race with Epsom Hcp form. Just not sure they are going to go fast enough for him here, and think he is better as a big track miler so prefer as a place chance.

6-VERRY ELLEEGANT has been at the top of the WFA ranks for some years now, yet still seems to be under-rated, despite her very impressive win record. Sensational win in the Caulfield Cup last year and incredible effort in the Melbourne Cup when she should have finished a lot closer. Fitter for 3 runs in, took tricky rails run to win 1st up, slogged out the finish 2nd up and then disappointing 3rd up, with no real excuses. But if we are forgiving the (1) a poor run last start, then surely we should forgive her as well? She looks perfectly in here, proven at 2000M WFA, a bit of rain around is a big plus, and drawn out to suit, sitting outside runners suits as she can over-race if racing tight inside others. Did flop in this race in 2019, but that was early in her career when she was still doing a lot wrong. Really on her best form she probably wins this, so itís just a matter of if we ignore the poor run last start or not. Looks the one to beat on overall form.

7-PROBABEEL is a super classy mare who just got the bob in last start and that form has been proven when the second horse ran so well in the Caulfield Cup last week. That was her first win over 2000M and she has always been flagged as a distance query, perhaps unfairly, but everything did fall into place last start sitting out the back whilst others went too early and were left vulnerable. She probably deserved to win a bit easier last start given the run, but only just got there. She has placed 7 from 10 on wet tracks too, but also flagged as a query on wet ground Ė she is probably OK with a bit of give, just not at her best on a genuinely soft track. Really had every chance against the (1) two starts back and was well and truly covered. Hard to fault her preparation and she looks perfectly primed for this. We backed and tipped her in this race last year, and if you watch the replay she was leading on the home turn on the inside off a fast speed, which was the worse going and fought on before fading badly late, not sure if that was the 2000M or the very wet track, but it definitely wasnít hopeless. She can sit out in space just off the speed here and run into the race at the right time and really you canít fault her preparation. Jockey Prebble has been in flying form this spring. Under-rated and solid chance on a track with not too much give, probably down-grade her chances if track is SOFT(6) or worse.

8-STATE OF REST is the unknown international and at least he has passed the vet check which is a great bonus. Northern Hemisphere 3YO and they are the ones who have been dominating the Melbourne Cup the last few years. He showed a turn of foot to win last start, that was his first try over 2000M and he previous runs had all been at a mile or below, so he looks to have more of a dash then the traditional international runners. Market will be the best guide for him and suspect he will have some support, so if backing an international is your thing, feel free to jump on board.

9-ANAMOE is the classy dashing 3YO who has had plenty of support in this race and punters are always super wary of the lightly weighted 3YOs in the Cox Plate. Placed in a Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper in his 2YO career, won the Caulfield Guineas last start and has class written all over him. Usually drops back in the run, but assume Williams goes more forward here with no weight and sits just behind the lead. First time out to 2000M, guess that is the question mark, would have to be a pretty brilliant horse to place in the 2YO features and win a Cox Plate the next year. No reason why he canít win, just not sure he represents value here.

10-CAPTIVANT is the other 3YO and actually there wasnít every much between them at all in the Caulfield Guineas and yet one is $17 and one is $4. The (9) only just ran him down last start off a strong tempo, but that one also had his measure in both previous starts in Sydney, and also through most of his 2YO runs. He looks like the 2000M may suit more than the (9) and you just get the impression he may have more improvement to come than him as well Ė quite liked the way the (9) had to really try to get past him last start. Chance Yendall could go forward here as he often does in a SO YOU THINK style assault on the race. Would probably prefer to back him at the odds on offer and definitely the best value chance in the race.
Lots of focus on the three year olds here, so worth looking into the record books as 3YOs often get very hyped going into this race. The last three 3YOs to win 2013-SHAMUS AWARD led at $21, 2009-SO YOU THINK led and won at $14 and 2004-SAVABEEL won at $15 sitting third and hitting the lead at the top of the straight. So the 3YO winners werenít really in the market, and definite advantage to go forward with the light weight and be interesting to see what jockey Yendall does on the 10-CAPTIVANT here and think he is the runner to watch out for in this race.

Tricky race to line up, serious concerns about the 1-ZAAKI going around MV 1st time for a horse than can get on his wrong leg, but wins on his best form Ė but is he showing his best form this spring in Melbourne? The 6-VERRY ELLEEGANT coming off one bad run, but would win this on best form and especially on a wet track, and really cannot fault the 7-PROBABEEL, just needs a dry track and she probably only just gets 2000M. The horse that really appeals from a betting point of view at the odds available is the 10-CAPTIVANT, fought the Caulfield Guineas right out last start, looks like he is on the improve and distance will suit and jockey might ride to win the race here and go forward. So the selections are 6-VERRY ELLEEGANT from 10-CAPTIVANT and 7-PROBABEEL and we will definitely be backing the second pick who looks great value at $17.

Suggested bets:

This 3YO filly has been extraordinary unlucky in her last two starts and is racing extremely well. At Sandown she was stuck on the rails which was the worse going and she just kept getting knocked as she tried to make a run, and then last start in the Thousand Guineas she was making runs through the inside, got knocked more than once, both inside and outside, hit a wall, got squashed and still poked through late. Has stronger form than most of these and suited at level weights against a lot of horses coming through maidens or weaker races. Drawn out today, and she can race more handy so she should sit on-speed in clear running and looks the one to beat at around $5 so happy to back her straight out, and taking a trifecta below in the Wonder Bet.

Super tough on-speed horse who is racing in career best form and stuck on pretty well last start at Caulfield. Not the best weighted here giving weight to a few smart ones, but he is hard fit and honest and handles it wet and should jump and sit outside the leader and give you a pretty good run at around $8. Back each way, and take a quinella with the consistent and under-rated 3-DEXELATION and the smart but erratic 6-RANTING 1st up who will need them to be running on and winning to feature in the finish.

Another who has been racing super consistently, and most important he absolutely loves it wet. Worked home well last start behind the (5) who he does meet worse off at the weights, but he will sit off the speed here and loop around the turn and think the wet track brings him right into the race today at around $10.

QUINELLA: Race 10: 3,5,6,9,12 boxed x $5 = 50%
Talented mare who has only won 1 from 12, but her two runs this time in have both been excellent, making ground and working home late and she is fitter and ready to win now. She will drop back and have to swing wide around the turn, so will need a solid speed on, but assuming last race of the weekend the track will be chopped up and that will be the racing pattern. Back each way at around $7 and box up a quinella around the strong finishing Sydney visitor the 3-MORE PROPHETS, the consistent on-speed wet tracker 5-MAGNA BELLA, the 9-GRACE AND HARMONY who looks ready to do something with two runs in and the 12-GOOD AND PROPER who ran on really well last start at Caulfield and looks ready to win at good odds. Market is a bit unreliable at the moment as the 7-ONLY WORDS and 10-LE LUDE are entered for MV Friday night and unlikely to run.

QUINELLA: Race 3: 2-NEW YORK BABY, 5-NICCOLITE, 3-LARKSPUR RUN boxed x $3 = 100%
Very bunched finish in the lead-up race that most of these are coming through, but the 2-NEW YORK BABY loomed into the race very nicely up in distance and looks to be going places. She beat the 5-NICCOLITE the start prior, but that one was looking for further and has since won sensationally at Mornington and the 3-LARKSPUR RUN has been very consistent on-speed and deserves a win. Looks a simple good value quinella in an open race.

BEST ROUGH: Race 8: 2-GOOD IDEA $1.50 EW
QUINELLA: Race 8: 2,7,8,10 boxed x $3 = 50%
Under-rated stayer who has been around forever, but won an Adelaide Cup earlier in the year and always takes a few runs to run into form each time in. Fitter for the three runs in, handles it wet, will go forward here and either lead or sit behind the erratic 9-STARCASTER and think there is a good chance he is going to do something today at around $35 which looks over the odds. Back each way and there is a good value quinella with the consistent Sydney stayer the 7-HARPO MARX, the highly rated import the 10-PONDUS who is favourite and the solid wet track stayer at odds the 8-THE GOOD FIGHT.

Always a lot of focus on 3YOs going into the Cox Plate, but the ones that run best are usually the staying types rather than the milers, and this one looks to fit the bill. Looks to be on the improve and really like the way the favourite the 9-ANAMOE had to work to get past him last start in the Caulfield Guineas when he looked like he was going to win easily. Jockey Yendall on board who often takes these lightly weighted horses to the lead and there is a good chance he might go forward here and make the most of the light weight. Looks a great winning chance in the feature race at around $17.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 8: 12-FLOATING ARTIST at around $3.50
This one has been racing extremely well and looked all set to land a Caulfield Cup spot but disappointed at $1.55 odds last start. Jockey probably went too slow that day, and he is in winning form against a mediocre field of exposed stayers, but first time past 2000M, not proven on wet ground, and suspect the erratic 9-STARCASTER runs them along here in the lead and turns this into a solid slogging staying race which may not suit. Can win, just not sure we want to back him with a few niggly queries and want to see how he goes today.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into an all you can eat Freedom Buffet with bonus haircut.
TRIFECTA: Race 5: 3 / 1,2,4,6 /1,2,4,5,6,10,12 x $5 = 20.83%
We are pretty keen on the Race 5: 3-FORTUNATE KISS with the main danger being the
1-VIANELLO, and good chance the roughie 6-I LIKE BIG PUTTS jumps to the lead here and sticks on well so letís work around those and try and snare a trifecta to add to our win bet. We need a roughie like the 4-STERN IMPULSE or 10-TESTA ROCK to fill a place to blow out the dividend.

Races 7,8,9,10: 1,3,6,14,15 / 2,7,8,10 / 6,10 / 3,5,6,9,12 x $20 = 10%
We are going to try and chase down a value quaddie today with a bit of an unorthodox approach. Although the favourite the 1-FORGOT YOU in Moonee Valley Vase is the horse to beat there are great value roughies like the 15-CAPITAL LEGEND, 3-JUNGLE MAGNATE and 6-CHEERFUL MOMENT so think we need to put some others in, in case there is an upset. The MV Cup is open, but we have roughies 2-GOOD IDEA and 8-THE GOOD FIGHT along with the more favoured 7-HARPO MARX and 10-PONDUS. Going narrow in the Cox Plate with just the proven wet tracker 6-VERRY ELLEEGANT and value 10-CAPTIVANT and coming home wide in the last leg. If the favourite gets beaten in the first leg and we are live going into the last the approximates should be generous indeed.

The Tips: