The 2015 Cox Plate field has been released and 14 talented gallopers are set to contest the Group 1 event that will be held at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club Committee was expected to have a big decision on their hands and would be forced to deny a Group 1 winner a place in the Cox Plate field, but Godolphin made the decision for the committee when they elected not to accept with Contributor and include just Hartnell and Complacent in the acceptances.
Complacent narrowly missed out on a place in the Caulfield Cup last week and Godolphin were desperate to give the Group 1 winner an opportunity at the highest level of racing this campaign after he took out both the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Godolphin deliberately opted to miss the Caulfield Cup with Hartnell and he will go into the Cox Plate on the back of credible performances in the Chelmsford Stakes and the Turnbull Stakes.
Another trainer that will have multiple horses in the 2015 Cox Plate field is Chris Waller, who has included Winx, Kermadec and Preferment in the acceptances for the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Kermadec was beaten when he made the step-up to 2000 metres for the first time in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10, but he remains one of the most fancied runners in Cox Plate betting markets, while Winx and Preferment are both taking winning form into the race after taking out the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) respectively.
Another horse that will take winning form into the 2015 Cox Plate is four-time Group 1 winner Criterion, who finished a credible seventh behind Adelaide in the Cox Plate last year.
Criterion was sent to the United Kingdom and he performed well against some of the best horses in the world in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2012m) and Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes (2012m) before he returned to Australia with an impressive victory in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes.
Happy Trails fought out the finish with Criterion in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes and the veteran gelding will have the opportunity to turn-the-tables on his rival in the Cox Plate.
The Good Journey gelding is set to contest the Cox Plate for the fourth time and he is chasing his first win in the race after finishing 10th in 2012, a very close second in 2013 and an unlucky sixth in 2014.
Fawkner failed to fire behind Criterion and Happy Trails in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes, but connections have opted to give him another chance in the Cox Plate field, while Pornichet is another Caulfield Stakes flop that will have the opportunity to bounce back in the Cox Plate.
Peter Gelagotis-trained Mourinho controversially missed out on a place in the Cox Plate last year, but he has been assured of a start in the 2015 edition of the race and is taking outstanding form into the $3 million event.
Mourinho started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a narrow win over The Cleaner in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15 and he failed to fire in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 before he returned to winning form to record a maiden win at Group 1 level in the Underwood Stakes (1800m).
It was Mourinho who narrowly denied The Cleaner in both the P.B. Lawrence Stakes and Underwood Stakes and the old rivals are set to butt heads again in the Cox Plate, with The Cleaner expected to take up the running in the early stages of the Cox Plate.
Adelaide became the first European-trained horse to win the Cox Plate when he came from the tail of the field 12 months ago and three European gallopers are set to contest the Group 1 event this weekend.
Highland Reel is also trained by Aidan O’Brien and he has followed a similar program to Adelaide, with his 2015 racing season highlighted by a dominant five lengths victory in the Group 1 Secretariat Stakes (2012m) at Arlington on August 15.
Arod is yet to record a win at the highest level of racing, but he has form around some of the best horses in Europe and has gone to another level this preparation.
The Teofilo entire stamped himself as a Cox Plate contender when he recorded back-to-back wins in the Diomed Stakes and Summer Mile before he was only narrowly denied by the extremely talented Solow in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes (1609m) at Goodwood on July 29.
Rounding out the European runners in the 2015 Cox Plate field is Gailo Chop, who recorded a dominant four lengths victory in the La Coupe in France in his final race start before he made the trip to Australia for the Cox Plate.
Don’t miss out on the best Cox Plate odds that are available with Ladbrokes, who are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% for every single race at Moonee Valley on Saturday.