Full field expected for Cox Plate

Sportal October 22, 2012, 12:38 pm
Gai Waterhouse

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A full field of 14 runners is expected to contest Saturday's $3 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

While the final field won't be announced until Tuesday morning - which will be followed by the barrier draw - a capacity field is expected to contest Australia's weight-for-age championship for the second straight year.

Last year four-year-old mare Pinker Pinker pulled off a major upset at $25 in what was only the second time since 1995 that the race had attracted its capacity field.

In contrast there were just eight runners when Saintly won in 1996 and when Fields Of Omagh won the first of his two Cox Plates in 2003.

This year's field is expected to contain a trio of three-year-old runners, who receive a huge weight advantage under the weight-for-age scale and will only have to carry 49.5kg.

The three-year-olds expected to contest the race are Caulfield Guineas winner All Too Hard, beaten Caulfield Guineas favourite Pierro and Group One Spring Champion Stakes winner Proisir with the latter two both trained by Gai Waterhouse.

However despite the trio all being in the top six in betting, history is against them with only four three-year-old colts having won the race in the past 30 years - Red Anchor in 1984, Octagonal in 1995, Savabeel in 2004 and So You Think in 2009 in a year in which another three-year-old in the Waterhouse-trained Manhattan Rain finished second.

Waterhouse is expected to have three runners in the race this year with her champion mare More Joyous, who will carry 57kg, expected to also be a starter.

The only other mare likely to line up is last year's Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed after trainer Leon McDonald elected to scratch the mare from last Saturday's Caulfield Cup to save her for the Cox Plate with Luke Nolen to ride the horse.

Two four-year-olds will contest the race in Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes winner Ocean Park - to be ridden by Glen Boss - and Mornington trainer Pat Carey's Ethiopia, last year's winner of the AJC Derby as a three-year-old.

Both will carry 57.5kg under the weight-for-age scale.

Meanwhile the seven older male horses that are tipped to contest the race, which will all carry the equal top weight of 59kg under WFA conditions, are Glass Harmonium, Green Moon, Happy Trails, Linton, Rekindled Interest, Shoot Out and Sincero.

Rekindled Interest (third), Sincero (ninth) and Glass Harmonium (10th) are the only runners expected to line up on Saturday that also contested last year's Cox Plate.

Pierro retains favouritism for the race at $3.60 at TAB Sportsbet and $4.50 at Betfair ahead of the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon.

Green Moon will be ridden by in-form jockey Craig Williams, who is aiming for successive Cox Plate wins after winning aboard Pinker Pinker last year to go with his back-to-back Caulfield Cup wins aboard Southern Speed and Dunaden.

Green Moon is $5 at TAB Sportsbet and $5.50 at Betfair while the third favourite is the Kiwi Ocean Park, who is aiming to become only the sixth horse to complete the Underwood Stakes-Caulfield Stakes and Cox Plate treble in the same season.

Ocean Park is currently $5.50 at TAB Sportsbet and $6.40 at Betfair with those horses the only three under double-figure odds at Betfair while the only other runner under double-figure odds at TAB Sportsbet is Proisir at $9.

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