Raiders primed for Cox Plate

Sportal October 9, 2012, 2:02 pm
Asfare

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The Cox Plate may not yet have produced an internationally-trained winner, unlike the other two big Melbourne spring racing features the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, but that could be about to change this year.

The Luca Cumani-trained Afsare worked well at Werribee - where the international raiders for this year's spring carnival are based - on Tuesday morning and, according to Racing Victoria's international scout Leigh Jordan, is looming as a genuine contender for this year's weight-for-age championship at Moonee Valley on October 27.

Afsare is currently trading at $38 in betting for the Cox Plate at Betfair while he is slightly shorter ($34) at Eskander's Betstar as Gai Waterhouse's unbeaten three-year-old colt Pierro continues to dominate the markets where he is the $2.74 favourite at Betfair and $2.70 favourite at Centrebet.

The six-year-old stallion worked alongside stablemate Ibicenco on Tuesday morning over 1600 metres with the pair running the last 1400m in one minute and 32 seconds, with the final 600m in 37.2sec.

However, Jordan said Afsare was clearly the more impressive of the two horses.

"He looked good, but he should be a bit sharper at this stage of his preparation as he presses on to the Cox Plate," Jordon told Melbourne radio station Radio Sports National.

"But on looks and condition I don't think you could fault him at the moment."

While the international raiders have dominated the Cups in recent times, Afsare will be the first European-trained runner to contest the $3 million Cox Plate since 2004.

Afsare is lightly raced for a six-year-old and has had just 14 starts for four wins and five placings.

But he is coming off an impressive second in his last run in the prestigious Arlington Millions over 2000m in the United States on August 18.

Jordan told RSN that Afsare was an experienced traveller and had settled in perfectly to his new surrounds at Werribee with Cumani - who came desperately close to winning the Melbourne Cup in 2008 with Bauer - yet to decide on a jockey for his Cox Plate contender.

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