The 2014 Cox Plate field has been released with a capacity field of 14 horses set to contest the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
16 horses were included in the final acceptances for the Cox Plate and the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee was forced to decide who would earn a start in the race and they elected not to include promising three-year-old Chivalry and Peter Gelagotis-trained Mourinho in the field for the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Fawkner stamped himself as a clear Cox Plate favourite when he took out the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 11 and the Reset gelding is rated an excellent chance of giving the Macedon Lodge team their first ever win in the Cox Plate.
The seven-year-old took out the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and finished a credible sixth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) last year, but this preparation has been set for a weight-for-age campaign before returning to handicap conditions for ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Criterion worked home strongly to finish second behind Fawkner in the Caulfield Stakes and he will have the chance to turn-the-tables on his rival in the Cox Plate on Saturday.
The Sebring entire had his first look at Moonee Valley during Breakfast With The Best this morning and he impressed onlookers with a strong piece of work on the course proper.
European-trained Side Glance is another horse coming out of the Caulfield Stakes that has been included in the Cox Plate field and he be having his second start in the race after finishing sixth behind Shamus Award last year.
The Passing Glance gelding led from the start in the Caulfield Stakes, but he is unlikely to take up the running in the Cox Plate and connections plan to take a sit behind likely leader The Cleaner in the early stages of the race.
The Cleaner is easily the most popular galloper in the Cox Plate field and he will cap off a fairytale story for Tasmanian trainer Mick Burles if he is able to record a maiden win at Group 1 level on Saturday.
The Savoire Vivre gelding earnt a start in the Cox Plate when he took out the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6 before he recorded another win at Group level in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at the same venue on September 26.
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will have Sacred Falls, Royal Descent and Foreteller in the 2014 Cox Plate field, but he elected not to include Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man in the acceptances for the Group 1 event.
Sacred Falls and Royal Descent were always assured of running in the Cox Plate, but Waller made the late decision to run Foreteller after he impressed during Breakfast With The Best at Moonee Valley this morning and he will be ridden by leading hoop Tommy Berry.
Royal Descent will be stepping up to 2040 metres after finishing a close second in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4, while Sacred Falls is still chasing his first win at a distance greater than a mile.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2014 Cox Plate field is Coolmore-owned Adelaide, who will be making his Australian racing debut at Moonee Valley this weekend.
Adelaide is yet to miss a placing in his seven career starts to date and he finished second in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (2414m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot meeting and was second in the Group 1 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (2011m) before he returned to winning form in the Group 1 Secretariat Stakes (2011m) at Arlington on August 16.
Shamus Award scored an upset win in the 2013 edition of the Cox Plate and three three-year-olds have been given the chance to contest the Group 1 event.
Almalad took out the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and that was enough for him to be assured of a start in the race, while the performances of Wandjina in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Sweynesse in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) was enough to earn a start according to the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee
The 2014 Cox Plate field is rounded out by last year’s runner-up Happy Trails and imported galloper Guest Of Honour.