COX Plate day at Moonee Valley is one of the finest events on the Australian racing calendar and punters get a full card of 10 races to bet on.
European raider Highland Reel currently holds sway in the betting for the big race. Top Australian hopes Criterion, Kermadec and Winx have all been well-backed in the market and it promises to be another great edition of the world's toughest weight-for-age contest.
It's an all-day racing bonanza and if you bet on the first four races with Sportsbet.com.au, then you get a great deal.
If your fixed odds win or each way bet finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th then Sportsbet will refund you bet up to $100! They refunded over $2.7 million on Caulfield Cup day alone so get stuck in.
The day starts with the two-year-old Inglis Banner worth $250,000.
Race 1 – 2YO Inglis Banner (1000m)
There wasn't much wrong with Dalradian's debut win at Bendigo and it's paying a nice price here. The Darren Weir-trained colt won by two lengths when it carried 58kg and it has drawn well enough in barrier six for this. Brad Rawiller takes over the riding duties now and the $10 on offer looks like value. Superstitious punters enjoy backing number one in the first race, so expect the price to shorten.
Sweet Sherry has been one of the best backed runners at $4.20 after winning the Listed Maribyrnong at Flemington on debut. The Brent Stanley-trained filly was well supported at $8 on that occasion with Damien Oliver in the saddle and the champion jockey has been engaged again. It has drawn wide in barrier 10 which is concerning around this track over the 1000 metres, so beware the dangers of being caught wide when placing a bet.
Valliano was desperately unlucky on debut and it's still trying to find a gap. The Hayes/Dabernig-trained colt finished third behind Missrock after not getting a gap till very late in the race. The two-year-old by Equiano didn't have any tote support at $31 on that occasion, but it has been well backed in this at $4.60 after opening at $4.80. Good chance based on its debut effort.
Race 2 – City Jeep Handicap (955m)
Tawteen has been confidently backed in from $4.40 to $3.80 on the back of a solid performance for third last start behind Kaepernick. The Hayes/Dabernig-trained mare is a course specialist with seven starts for four wins and three placings, and the light weight of 54kg is a big assist. It likes to go forward and dictate the pace, so it might need to cover some ground from barrier nine. Still a good winning chance and the punters are climbing in.
Diamond Oasis is the current favourite at $2.60 after opening lower at $2.50. Trainer Joseph Pride knows how to train a sprinter and it has been taking on some tough fields of late. The five-year-old is a winner of six races, including one on this track which came over the 955 metres in October last year. It has an excellent record at this distance and its second-up form reads well. Good bet.
The form around General Jacksons' win at Cranbourne is good and it could upset them twice in a row. It's not often Pat Carey trains a sprinter, but he's got a speedy type here which has won three times at this distance with a further seven placings. It will go forward and try lead all the way, and the $10 available looks a decent price.
Bet: Diamond Oasis to win ($2.60) at Bet365.com
Race 3 – Alliance Broking Fillies Classic (1600m)
My Popette is a professional filly which beat the talented Lizard Island in the Listed Anzac Day Stakes at Flemington. It has since placed once from three runs, but the level of opposition has been fierce and it should find this slightly easier. Mark Zahra is in great riding form and from the inside barrier, we're expect it to be right in the mix. Currently $3.60 available after opening at $4.
Silent Sedition was heavily backed to win at Caulfield last week, but the pace of the race tripped it up. The Andrew Noblet-trained filly got in an awkward position at the back of the field and it was forced five wide around the turn. It did finish off strongly and the rise in distance up to the mile will suit nicely. Looks a good chance here with Craig Williams riding and punters have again backed it. It opened at $6 and currently sits at $4.60.
Don't Doubt Mamma ran on well last start in the Group 2 Edward Manifold, but it was its win prior that should be grabbing punters attention. It defeated last start winner Sacred Eye by half-a-length and that form will be franked sooner or later. It has form around the good horses and the odds of $5 should be included in multiple bets.
Bet: Silent Sedition to win ($4.60) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 4 – Telstra Phonewords Red Anchor Stakes (1200m)
Mawahibb has been knocking on the door of a good win after back-to-back placings. The Hawkes-trained colt finished third behind Bassett at Caulfield before running second behind Keen Array last time out at Moonee Valley – a track where it has won and placed from two starts. It's yet to run a bad race in five career attempts so it must be included in win bets at $2.90.
Holler is on the quick backup after running a close second at Caulfield last Saturday and it has come in for some support. The John O'Shea-trained colt finished a narrow second behind Mahuta and the drop back in distance might help it switch on quicker. It has a fair amount of ability and its opening price of $3.60 has dropped slightly to $3.50.
Ability is an aptly-named colt which did well for third behind Keen Array last start after being held up at the top of the straight. The three-year-old was a three-length winner second start to the races and it hasn't had much luck in two runs since. Zahra rides and punters have it on the third line of betting at $5.50.
Bet: Mawahibb to win ($2.90) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 5 – Antler Luggage Crockett Stakes (1200m)
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Serene Majesty was an excellent winner last time to the races. The three-year-old filly scored an impressive 1.5-length victory over some handy horses and it should only improve off that experience. The daughter of Fastnet Rock has drawn awkwardly in barrier 10, but respect its talent and it has been backed in from $3.30 to $2.90.
Harlem River has sent out under the odds last start at Caulfield, but it didn't get much luck when caught three wide throughout. The Gai Waterhouse-trained filly has never finished worse than third in four career starts and Waterhouse has given the ride international superstar Ryan Moore. It has drawn nicely in barrier four and it can atone its last start defeat. It opened at $3.80, dropped to $3.60, but has since drifted back out to $3.90.
Valley Sweetheart won its debut only at Cranbourne, but it went bang to score the prize. The Peter Moody-trained filly sat midfield before unleashing a massive sprint to narrowly grab Sallanches on the line. That form doesn't come close to stacking up against this lot, but it won impressively and it has untapped ability. Glen Boss sticks with it so respect at $11.
Race 6 – Melbourne Signage Moonee Valley Cup (2500m)
The United States has come in for solid support after opening at $5. The Robert Hickmott-trained stayer is now into $4.20 and could well wrestle favouritism away from Prince of Penzance. The lightly-tried horse didn't have much luck when caught wide at Moonee Valley last start so it might pay to forgive that effort and go on its previous form. That included a win on this track and back-to-back placings behind some nice types. Good winning chance here.
Prince of Penzance has been in and around the cup types all season, but it hasn't been able to put everything together. The Darren Weir-trained gelding loves Moonee Valley with two wins from three starts and that bodes well for the six-year-old which is coming off an eighth in the Group 2 Herbert Power. This looks much easier and after opening at $4.50 it has dropped into $3.90.
Nothing wrong with the form of Bohemian Lily and you can assure it will go straight to the front. The Gai Waterhouse-trained mare has won only three from 14, but its efforts in Queensland were top quality and it should benefit from the tight-turning Moonee Valley track. Expect it to get a handy lead and kick strongly nearing the turn. Good odds available at $6.50.
Bet: The United States to win ($4.20) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 7 – Dilmah Teas Vase (2040m)
Tarzino has been very well supported and it was very unlucky to finish seventh last start in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas. The Mick Price-trained colt was making good ground, but it faced a wall of horses late in the race and jockey Craig Newitt had to sit on it. Its form prior was solid enough and after opening at $4.60 it is now into $4. Looks likely to see out the distance so include here.
Pasadena Girl comes through the Group 1 1000 Guineas formline where it finished fourth behind Stay With Me. The Peter Moody-trained filly got too far back in the run and was unable to show its good turn-of-foot. This looks more suitable and from barrier one, expect Hugh Bowman to sit it closer to the lead. Looks a strong chance at the weights and punters are happily taking the $4 available.
Sovereign Nation is a well regarded colt which finished fourth behind Press Statement in the Caulfield Guineas. The Hayes/Dabernig-trained runner won the Group 2 Stutt Stakes on this track two back by beating Derby contender Get The Picture and that form looks good enough for this. Michael Walker expects it to run well and the $7 available is well over the odds. Good place bet.
Race 8 – Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m)
Lucky Hussler will start favourite after winning the Group 1 Toorak Handicap at its last start. The Darren Weir-trained gelding looks to back that win up with another two weeks later here and it strikes a much easier field, but only goes up 1kg in weight. Class horse in the field and the punters will likely include the $2.25 in their multi-bets this weekend.
Bow Creek is a well regarded import having its first start in Australia. The John O'Shea-trained horse has won two group 2's in Europe, but its last two starts resulted in two very poor results. It finished 22 lengths behind Arod last time out and although Arod is running in the Cox Plate, Bow Creek never got close. It has never won or placed in five starts when fresh up, but it's well liked in the betting at $6.50. Chance, but would prefer to see a run or two.
Turn Me Loose is a group 1 winner in New Zealand and it easily won the Listed Seymour Cup last Sunday. The in-form Murray Baker stable has a very big opinion of this four-year-old and it will likely set a good tempo from barrier one and be very tough to catch. It is unbeaten at this distance and Moonee Valley will suit nicely. $5 available with bookmakers.
Race 9 – WilliamHill Cox Plate (2040m)
Winx is a special horse for Chris Waller and despite having never run against this sort of class, it would take a brave punter to leave it out of calculations. The four-year-old mare has grabbed the headlines of late with its coming-from-behind wins in Sydney and Brisbane, and Hugh Bowman had the choice to ride Winx or Preferment and he chose Winx. Drawing the inside was a strange decision, but a change in tactics might be applied here. $6 with bookmakers.
Highland Reel is a quality four-year-old from the O'Brien stables which are very hard to beat around the world. Ryan Moore scored the win last year with Adelaide and they rate Highland Reel even higher. Any form around the likes of Golden Horn is good form and it jumps from the perfect barrier of four. Very good chance and the punters have climbed into it. Currently paying $5.50.
Arod has form in behind Solow last time out and it's one of the best milers in the world. The Teofilo horse is unbeaten in two starts at this distance and it won back-to-back group races prior to its second placing last start. It hasn't raced since July which is a concern, but it goes well fresh up and Craig Williams is a good rider to have in the saddle. A nice each-way price about this European and it could run into the money at a nice place price.
Bet: Highland Reel to win ($5.50) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 10 – G1x.com.au Stakes (1600m)
Ciaron Maher lines up former New Zealand runner Azkadellia after winning last time out at Cranbourne. The four-year-old put away a handy field by 2.25 lengths and James McDonald takes over the riding duties now. It has won four from seven with two placings and that consistency could get rewarded here. Tough draw, but expect it to get back and flash home late. Current favourite at $3.90.
Ballet Suite has drifted from $5 to $5.50 after a poor run last start, but it had excuses and could bounce back in this. The Chris Waller-trained mare pulled up with a vet problem last start, but its form prior was solid and there was plenty of money invested on it last start. Oliver takes over the riding duties and he can turn these horses around. Solid each way chance.
Atlantis Dream has a good winning record of six wins from 16 starts and it has placed in both attempts at Moonee Valley. The Weir-trained mare loves this distance and it didn't have much wrong to work with last time out at Flemington. Expect a good run here from a horse that rarely puts in a bad run. It opened at $7, but has since drifted out half-a-point to $7.50.