The 2016 Cox Plate form guide is critical reading for anybody looking to find the winner of the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Working your way through the form guide can often be time-consuming work, so we have done all the hard work for and put together everything that you need to know about all ten horses in the Group 1 event.
Winx continues to be all the rage in the 2016 Cox Plate betting market with Ladbrokes and she is now into a quote of $1.80 to win the race for the second year in a row.
The veteran Happy Trails is back for a fifth tilt at the Cox Plate. Happy Trails returned to the races with a credible eighth behind Palentino in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10 and he was not disgraced when fifth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at the same venue on October 2. There is no doubt that his best days are behind him, but he should run better than his price of $151 suggests.
Black Heart Bart
Black Heart Bart is one of the most versatile and consistent horses in the country. He started his spring campaign with a comfortable win in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27 and he finished second in the Makybe Diva Stakes. Black Heart Bart returned to winning form with another comfortable victory in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 24 and he was no match for Winx in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield on October 8. There is no doubt that Black Heart Bart is a special horse, but it is tough to see him turning the tables on Winx.
Hartnell has gone to another level during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival and the market suggests that she is the main danger to Winx. He was no match for Winx when they did battle in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 20, but he has since gone on to record dominant victories in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 3, the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) on September 17 and the Turnbull Stakes. His Turnbull Stakes win was a genuine world-class performance and if he is able to handle Moonee Valley he will be right in the finish.
There has been a move for Hartnell in the 2016 Cox Plate betting betting market with Ladbrokes and he is now into $3.50 to deliver John O’Shea the biggest victory of his racing career to date.
Hauraki is another horse that has gone to another level this preparation. He started his campaign with a most impressive victory in the Group 3 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 3 and he was far from disgraced when second behind Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at the same venue. Hauraki carried a big weight in the Epsom Handicap and he was still able to storm home late to record a truly impressive victory. Whether he can beat the big guns is a genuine question, but he could not be racing any better and he should relish the step-up to 2000 metres.
This is a big thrill for trainer Patrick Webster. Happy Clapper returned to the races with a fifth place finish in the Tramway Stakes and he was slightly disappointing in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 17 before he produced an improved effort in the Epsom Handicap. He does not appear to be going as well as he was in the autumn and this is obviously an extremely tough challenge.
Vadamos is the French x-factor in the 2016 Cox Plate field. He failed to fire when he made the trip tu Dubai for the Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) in March, but since then his form has been excellent. He returned to winning form in the Group 2 Prix Du Muguet (1600m) at Saint Cloud on May 1 and he was outclassed by A Shin Hikari in the Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan (1800m) at Chantilly on May 24. The Monsun entire was dominant in the Group 3 Prix Messidor (1600m) on July 17 and he finished second in the Group 1 Prix Du Haras De Fresnay Le Buffard (1600m) at Deauville on August 14 before he claimed a maiden Group 1 victory in the Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp (1600m) at Chantilly on September 11. He will make his own luck right on the speed and will give the leading chances something to catch.
Awesome Rock has had a mixed 2016 Spring Racing Carnival campaign. He started his campaign with a flat effort in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 13 before he secured a place in the Cox Plate field with his win in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3. He was fairly average in the Underwood Stakes and Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and he looks a touch outclassed in this race.
The star mare is a clear favourite to join Sunline as the only mares to have won multiple editions of the Cox Plate. Winx has not lost a race since she was beaten by Gust Of Wind in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) in April last year and she has been typically flawless this preparation. She beat Hartnell comfortably in the Warwick Stakes and she has since gone on to record very soft victories in the George Main Stakes and Ladbrokes Stakes. She maps to get a dream run into the race with Hugh Bowman in the saddle and there is no doubt that she is the horse to beat.
Lucia Valentina has flown under the radar in the lead-up to the 2016 Cox Plate, but she is a very talented horse in her own right. She was clearly underdone first-up in the Warwick Stakes and she found the line strongly to finish third behind Black Heart Bart in the Underwood Stakes. Trainer Kris Lees has kept her as fresh as possible for this race and she will be storming home late.
Update: The wet weather in Melbourne is expected to help the chances of Lucia Valentina and she has been backed from $21 into $18 to record another Group 1 victory.
Yankee Rose is the sole three-year-old in the 2016 Cox Plate field and she gets into the race with just 47.5 kilograms on her back. Yankee Rose returned to the races with a tough sixth in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 10 and she was only narrowly denied by Global Glamour in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 1. She relished the step-up to 2000 metres to record a second Group 1 victory in the Spring Champion Stakes. The light-weight is obviously a big advantage and she has raced at the highest level throughout her career.
2016 Cox Plate Form Guide