The 2013 Cox Plate final field and barrier draw was released this morning; with fourteen horses set to contest the Group 1 Australasian Weight-For-Age Championshipat Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Glamour mare Atlantic Jewel has drawn ideally and will jump from barrier six, after the emergency is removed, while other fancies It’s A Dundeel (barrier 13) and Fiorente (barrier 15) will start towards the outside of the field.
Trainer Mark Kavanagh is chasing his second Cox Plate after winning the 2008 edition of the race with Maldivian, who jumped from barrier six, and said after the draw that he was happy with the middle gate for Atlantic Jewel.
“That looks pretty good to me; anything between five and eight is perfect,” Kavanagh said.
Both It’s A Dundeel and Fiorente have been well-backed in recent days but are expected to drift after drawing wide barriers this morning.
Fiorente will jump from barrier 14 and will need to overcome recent history to give trainer Gai Waterhouse her first ever Cox Plate victory as no horse has jumped from the outside gate and won the $3 million event in the last thirty years.
The son of Monsun worked at the Cox Plate Breakfast With The Stars this morning and Waterhouse told TVN that she could not be happier with the five-year-old.
“He worked over 1400-metres this morning and he looks great,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s been here for 12 months now and he’s turned into a magnificent horse and his coat is through now.
“He looks fantastic.”
It’s A Dundeel has had an interrupted preparation to the Cox Plate, after missing the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) with a foot abscess, but worked strongly alongside Let’s Make A Deal over 1600 metres at the Cox Plate Breakfast With The Stars this morning.
Jockey James McDonald will make his Cox Plate debut on the son of High Chaparral this Saturday and said that trainer Murray Baker had done a fantastic job getting the four-year-old in peak condition for the event.
“He felt brilliant today, Murray has got him spot on,” McDonald said.
Puissance De Lune has firmed in Cox Plate betting markets slightly after drawing barrier eight but is likely to have a new jockey on board; with Ben Melham on standby to replace Glen Boss who will appeal his suspension for careless riding this afternoon.
Boss was suspended for twelve meetings for careless riding on Silent Achiever in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) but will challenge the severity of the penalty due to his excellent record.
The Cox Plate will have an international presence for the first time since 2004 and both European-trained gallopers fared well at the barrier draw this morning; with Side Glance to jump from barrier one and Mull Of Killough from barrier four.
Both horses are considered extreme outsiders in Cox Plate betting markets but Mull Of Killough’s trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam believes that her charge is underrated, especially when comparing his form to Fiorente.
“My horse’s form is better than his in England,” Chapple-Hyam said.
“I’m not saying put a line through Fiorente because he has acclimatised and done very well here but back in England I would have my horse in front of him.”
The Macedon Lodge team is chasing their first Cox Plate win, after picking up the Caulfield Cup with Fawkner on Saturday, and Green Moon (barrier 12), Masked Marvel (barrier five) and Seville (barrier 10) all draw fairly.
Co-owner Nick Williams rates Green Moon his team’s best chance in the race but believes that Atlantic Jewel will be very difficult to beat.
“Atlantic Jewel is a superstar and could do a Sunline and street them,” Williams said.
Rounding out the 2013 Cox Plate final field is: Happy Trails (barrier two), Foreteller (barrier nine), Rekindled Interest (barrier six), Super Cool (barrier 14), Long John (barrier 11) and emergency Shamus Award (barrier three).