Jimmy Choux should be the favourite for the 2011 Cox Plate according to Steve McKee, co-trainer of former champion Sunline.
McKee certainly knows what it takes to win the race (Sunline did it twice) and he says Jimmy Choux has showed the right signs this year to suggest he’s a real winning threat.
“You’ll see a different horse to the one who raced in Sydney as a three-year-old last season. He’s really strengthened up,” McKee said.
“He really is THE horse in NZ. He’s doing everything with ease and he’s an ideal horse for a Cox Plate because he’s push-button.
“He is clearly the horse to beat in the race for mine.”
The 2011 Cox Plate looks likely to be a capacity field with a large number of horses targeting the Group 1 feature.
Of those Helmet is being talked up the most following his hugely impressive win last start in the Caulfield Guineas.
Still though, McKee says the experience of Jimmy Choux could be a decisive factor.
“You give Helmet a lot of credit for his Guineas win. He went a second faster than my horse (King Mufhasa) winning the Toorak,” he said.
“But the Cox Plate will be Helmet’s first try at 2040m, while Jimmy Choux is tough and already a Derby winner.”
It seems the kiwi’s are teaming up in support of Jimmy Choux, Graeme Boyd, known mainly for Ginga Dude, also rates him a huge threat.
“I’ve seen plenty of him and he’s a special horse,” Boyd said.
“I’m told his latest win was sensational. He’s the one they all have to beat.”
For McKee though, he’s still tossing up whether or not to have a Cox Plate runner of his own with King Mufhasa.
“He’s only had the one try at 2000m and that was as a three-year-old, but he hurt himself in the race and we didn’t find out if he ran the trip,” he said.
“I don’t think the Cox Plate is the sort of race you want to use to find that out.
“We’re taking him back to NZ now, but he’ll come back to race during (Melbourne) Cup week.
“The obvious option is the Emirates Stakes, but we are giving thought to trying him over 2000m in the Mackinnon with a lack of depth around in the middle-distance, weight-for-age horses.”