2018 Ladbrokes W.S Cox Plate
Moonee Valley Racecourse
Saturday 27th October 2018
Race 9: 5.00pm (AEST)
2040 meters, WFA
10151 1. BENBATL (3), J: OISIN MURPHY, W: 59 KGS, 9.00
81733 2. HUMIDOR (7), J: DAMIAN LANE, W: 59 KGS, 15.00
43236 3. KINGS WILL DREAM (4), J: JOHN ALLEN, W: 59KGS, 26.00
X1111 4. AVILIUS (1), J: GLYN SCHOFIELD, W: 59 KGS, 20.00
X3225 5. D’ARGENTO (2), J: KERRIN MCEVOY, W: 57.5 KGS, 34.00
1X111 6. WINX (6), J: HUGH BOWMAN, W: 57 KGS, 1.22
92251 7. ROSTROPOVICH (8), J: RYAN MOORE, W: 56 KGS, 31.00
5X521 8. SAVVY COUP (5), J: CHRIS JOHNSON, W: 55.5 KGS, 34.00
Form and Predictions
It might be only a small field of eight, but the gloves come off at 5pm Melbourne time for the running of the A$5 million Ladbrokes W.S Cox Plate. The main storyline with this race all year is whether wonder mare WINX can make it four in a row.
With the smallish field, you’d have to give her a better than average chance. However, there are some good internationals turning up to give her a run for her money, namely: BENBATL and ROSTROPOVICH.
In fact, of the eight, four are British/Irish horses, either ex-pat or visiting from abroad. Two have New Zealand origins (Humidor and Savvy Coup) while Winx and D’Argento fly the Aussie flag.
Barriers in a field this small won’t play a part I would think. It will be the tempo of the race, though I’m not seeing a genuine front-runner here, which could turn it into a dawdle, much like last week’s Caulfield Cup.
I’m predicting BENBATL might sit on the speed but the majority of the field look like back-markers. He looks like the obvious danger to Winx, but will need the breaks to get a head start on the mare. Hugh Bowman will be wise to any moves of his rivals trying to skip a jump. Oisin Murphy picks up the ride in lieu of (a now suspended) Pat Cosgrave.
It will good to see ROSTROPOVICH for the first time in Australia. Ryan Moore is in town, and he has a number of rides on both the Friday night Manikato Stakes meeting as well as this race the following day. The Irish visitor might be competitive over 2000m but I think he’ll prefer the longer trip in a few weeks time.
In form Sydney based Godolphin stayer AVILIUS is one of the top picks for the Melbourne Cup, and at handicap conditions he’d be better off. The weight-for-age conditions won’t help him here, considering he’s giving 2kgs away to the best horse on turf.
Darren Weir’s HUMIDOR ran Winx to a close second in this race last year, and he’s quite capable of delivering a surprise, but he’d need to be flying from the back.
The surprise addition to the field is Kiwi mare SAVVY COUP. A two time Group 1 winner including the New Zealand Oaks, she’s more of a staying type with her initial target being the Matriarch Stakes on the fourth day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Quite capable over 2000m, with a powerful turn of foot. I will be an interested spectator.
Both KINGS WILL DREAM and D’ARGENTO are both decent horses, but have only been racing fairly lately. I think they’ll struggle here.
Which leaves the race favourite WINX. My prediction is that she will stalk the field, and be close enough to pounce with her electric turn of foot. I doubt Hugh Bowman will be leaving things late, like he did in her last run in the Turnbull Stakes. The small field will put paid to any traffic jams and congestion. She’s done it three times before, there’s nothing to suggest she can’t make it four.
Betting Gods Picks
Winx – 3pt win @ 1.22 Bet365
Benbatl – 1pt each way @ 8.50 Bet365
Savvy Coup – 0.5pt each way @ 41.00 Bet365
Video Reference Guide
2018 Turnbull Stakes (Winx, Kings Will Dream)
2018 Caulfield Stakes (Benbatl, D’Argento, Humidor)
2018 Bart Cummings (Avilius)