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Complete 2015 Cox Plate Form Guide: No Scratchings

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The 2015 Cox Plate form guide will be poured over by punters right around the world in the next 24 hours as the anticipation builds ahead of the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.

Winx is one of several horses that will take winning form into the 2015 Cox Plate. Photo by: Daniel Costello

Winx is one of several horses that will take winning form into the 2015 Cox Plate. Photo by: Daniel Costello

This is arguably one of the most competitive Cox Plate fields in history and you can make a case for just about horse in the field, while the three international runners add another level to the form puzzle.

Our team of horse racing experts have complied all the information that you need to know about all every single runner in the 2015 Cox Plate field and hopefully this will help you make your final Cox Plate selections.

Update: 

There has been no late scratchings in the 2015 Cox Plate and all 14 gallopers are set to contest the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship that will be held at Moonee Valley this afternoon.

Winx has been the best-backed runner in 2015 Cox Plate betting markets and she is set to start as a $5 favourite Criterion ($6), Highland Reel ($6), Arod ($8.50), Kermadec ($10), Preferment ($15), The Cleaner ($17) and Hartnell ($17).

1. Criterion (59kg)

Criterion hit the line strongly to finish seventh behind Adelaide in the Cox Plate last year, but he has gone to another level in the past two months. The Sebring entire stamped himself as a global player when he finished a credible third in the Hong Kong Cup at the end of last year and he was placed in both the Canterbury Stakes and George Ryder Stakes when he returned to Australia before he scored a dominant win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Criterion performed well without winning against some of the best horses in the world during three race starts in Hong Kong and England before he returned to Australian racing with a fast-finishing win in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes. He is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from that performance and his tactical versatility means that he is the best of the local chances in the 2015 Cox Plate.

2. Fawkner (59kg)

Fawkner was only narrowly denied by Adelaide in the Cox Plate last year and he is back for another crack at the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship. The Reset gelding started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a solid win in the Makybe Diva Stakes and he was only narrowly denied by Mourinho in the Underwood Stakes, but he was one of the first horses beaten in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes in what was arguably the worst performance of his career to date. Fawkner deserves to be respected, but he will need to improve significantly on his Caulfield Stakes performance to have any chance in the Cox Plate.

3. Happy Trails (59kg)

Happy Trails has been a key part of the Cox Plate for a number of years and he is back for a fourth tilt at the race. Happy Trails returned to racing with a fair effort in the Spring Stakes in Adelaide and he was never able to get into the race in the Memsie Stakes before he produced an improved effort in the Makybe Diva Stakes. For the second year in a row he had no luck in running in the Turnbull Stakes, but he returned to his best form to push Criterion all the way in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes. Happy Trails will likely need luck in running to win the 2015 Cox Plate, but it is fair to say that he is over the odds in current betting markets for the Group 1 event.

4. Hartnell (59kg)

Hartnell was one of the star performers of the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and his performance to win The BMW was outstanding, but his form this preparation has been a touch inconclusive. The imported galloper was well-backed ahead of his return to racing in the Chelmsford Stakes, but he over raced before finishing fourth and he found the line strongly to finish sixth on a track that didn’t suit at Turnbull Stakes. Hartnell is a very tough horse to analyse ahead of the Cox Plate, but he looks a good chance to finish in the top six in what will be an ideal trial for the Melbourne Cup.

5. Mourinho (59kg)

Mourinho was controversially denied a place in the Cox Plate field last year, but he forced his way into this year’s race. The Peter Gelagotis-trained galloper returned to the races with a narrow win over his old rival The Cleaner in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes and he was slightly disappointing when sixth in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, but he returned to his best form to claim a maiden win at the highest level of racing in the Underwood Stakes. Mourinho is a honest performer that rarely wins a bad race, but he would still likely need to fine a couple of lengths of improvement to win the 2015 Cox Plate.

6. The Cleaner (59kg)

Australia’s favourite horse is back for another crack at the Cox Plate after he had no luck in the race last year. There were concerns that The Cleaner was past his best after he had a flat autumn campaign, but he showed those fears were unjustified when he returned to the  races with a very close second in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes. The Cleaner secured his place in the Cox Plate field with a dominant front-running win in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and he lost no admirers when he finished third in the Underwood Stakes. The eight-year-old has taken a different path into the Cox Plate this year and it would not surprise if he gave the race a very big shake tomorrow afternoon.

7. Pornichet (59kg)

Pornichet stamped himself as a genuine Cox Plate contender when he took out the Doomben Cup during the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but he has been the big drifter in Cox Plate betting in the last 24 hours. The French import returned to racing with a very tough second in the Warwick Stakes and he performed well without winning in both the Chelmsford Stakes and the George Main Stakes, but he raced extremely flat in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes and he failed to beat a single horse home. Pornichet has plenty of talent and trainer Gai Waterhouse remains optimistic, but it is tough to see him bouncing back from his disappointing Caulfield Stakes performance.

8. Arod (59kg)

Arod is yet to record a win at Group 1 level, but he brings some extremely strong form lines into the 2015 Cox Plate. Arod started his 2015 racing season with good efforts in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes and Lockinge Stakes in the United Kingdom before he stamped himself as a genuine Cox Plate contender when he took out the Diomed Stakes at Epsom Downs and the Summer Mile at Royal Ascot. The Teofilo entire was beaten in the Sussex Stakes by Solow, but that is some of the strongest form anywhere in the world and Solow won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last weekend. Arod has the tactical versatility required to win the Cox Plate and he will prove very tough to run down in the final stages of the race.

9. Complacent (59kg)

Complacent has the chance to cap off a simple incredible return to racing with a win in the Cox Plate. The Authorized entire missed almost two years of racing after he finished second in the Victoria Derby before he made his long-awaited return to racing in the Warwick Stakes. Complacent showed that he was back in a big way when he led from start to finish in the Chelmsford Stakes to score a massive upset win and he finished a game third in the Hill Stakes before he returned to winning form with a gutsy victory in the Craven Plate. This is a big step-up in quality from what he faced last start, but there is no doubt he is a quality galloper that could be in the finish with the right luck in running.

10. Gailo Chop (59kg)

Gailo Chop has flown under the radar ahead of the Cox Plate, but it would be foolish to completely overlook the French galloper. The Deportivo gelding was purchased by OTI Racing after he recorded a dominant win in France in August of last year and he started his 2015 racing season with a close second behind Solow in the Prix D’Ispahan at Longchamp. He failed to fire behind Criterion in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, but he returned to winning form with a dominant four lengths victory in the La Coupe De Maisons-Laffitte in his last start before making the trip to Australia. It is tough to see him winning, but he is not a bad inclusion to add a bit of value to exotics.

11. Kermadec (57.5kg)

Kermadec is the first of three Chris Waller-trained horses in the 2015 Cox Plate field. The Teofilo entire broke through for his maiden win at the highest level of racing when he took out the Doncaster Mile at the end of his 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign and he started his spring preparation with promising efforts in the Warwick Stakes and the Chelmsford Stakes before he returned to winning form in the George Main Stakes. Kermadec was well-backed in the lead-up to the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes, but he finished a slightly disappointing fourth and there are now question marks over his ability to run out a strong 2000 metres. Plenty of punters have been quick to desert Kermadec following the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes, but he is still a very talented galloper that is capable of winning the Cox Plate.

12. Preferment (57.5kg)

Waller elected to skip the Caulfield Cup with Preferment and he will instead contest the Cox Plate before he steps up to 3200 metres for the Melbourne Cup. Preferment started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a flat effort in the Chelmsford Stakes, but he showed an impressive turn-of-foot to take out the Hill Stakes and he found the line strongly to take out the Turnbull Stakes. The Zabeel entire probably does not have the acceleration that is required to win the Cox Plate, but he is another horse that will likely perform well and produce a strong trial for the 2015 Melbourne Cup.

12. Highland Reel (56kg)

There is plenty of hype surrounding Highland Reel and he is currently on top of Cox Plate betting markets. There have been plenty of comparisons made between Highland Reel and last year’s Cox Plate winner Adelaide, but Highland Reel’s lead-up form might be even stronger. Highland Reel finished a credible sixth in the Prix Le Parisien in France before he was only narrowly denied by the highly-rated New Bay in the Prix Du Jockey Club. He was disappointing in the Irish Derby, but he returned to winning form in the Gordon Stakes and he could not have been more dominant in the Secretariat Stakes in the United States. His performance in the Irish Champion Stakes was much better than it looks on paper and the form around Golden Horn is the best in the world. Highland Reel is deserving of his place on top of Cox Plate betting markets and he has an excellent chance to deliver Coolmore their second straight win in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.

14. Winx (55.5kg)

Winx is one of the most exciting horses in Australia and she is the clear x-factor in the 2015 Cox Plate. Winx has always had plenty of talent, but her fan club increased in size significantly after she recorded an unbelievable win in the Sunshine Coast Guineas and proved far too good for her rivals in the Queensland Oaks at the end of Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. The Street Cry mare started her spring campaign with another astonishing victory in the Theo Marks Stakes and she survived almost falling over at the top of the straight to record a dominant win in the Epsom Handicap. This is easily the toughest test of her racing career to date and she is yet to be tested in a race with a quick tempo, but there is no doubt there is something very special about this mare and she could stamp herself as a genuine superstar with a Cox Plate victory.

About The Author

Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.

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