Jockey Glen Boss is set to ride Royal Descent in the 2014 Cox Plate and he is confident that the consistent mare has the right mix of speed and stamina to take out the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Royal Descent has finished second in all four of her starts during her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and she will be stepping up to 2000 metres for the first time this preparation after finishing a close second behind He’s Your Man in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4.
The Redoute’s Choice mare has not recorded a race win since she took out the 2013 edition of the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but Boss believes that the step-up in trip for Royal Descent in the Cox Plate is ideal at this point of her campaign.
“I absolutely think that it will suit her,” Boss told Racing Ahead at Breakfast With The Best yesterday.
“At this point of her preparation she has had the two mile runs at Group 1 level, which have been very good performances; she was beaten by a centimetre last start.
“She has been kept to a mile simply to keep the speed in her legs because she is a mare that can get over a mile and a half when she is trained up.
“You need a horse with turn-of-foot and still a little bit of speed in their legs, but you need a horse that is strong at the end of 2000 metres.
“There is a good mix there and I think Chris has got the right mix with her.”
With The Cleaner included in the 2014 Cox Plate field there is expected to be plenty of early speed in the Group 1 event and Boss agrees that the race will be run at a strong tempo, but he believes that there is a misconception about the true qualities of The Cleaner heading into the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Boss said that The Cleaner gives the impression that he sets a breakneck speed as soon as he jumps from the barriers, but the leading hoop has studied the popular Tasmanian galloper and feels that he is not a tear away leader and is instead able to build up a very strong tempo from the 1000 metre mark that takes his rivals out of their comfort zone.
“I expect it to be a strong run race,” Boss said.
“I have had a good look at The Cleaner and I know him quiet well and his record around the Valley is outstanding.
“I don’t see him winning the race, but it is the funny thing about The Cleaner.
“The perception is that he goes out there and runs very good sectionals and you are going to have to run time to beat him, but that is not quite the fact.
“When he has won here at the Valley he was more than two seconds outside the 2040 metre record and when he won over the mile here he was more than a second and three quarters outside the record.
“He actually doesn’t go out there and run time, the first half of his race is very sedate, but what he does do very well is get to the 1000 and he is tough to get past.
“I think they will be running nearly a record this year and I can’t see The Cleaner winning, but he is in there with a top four chance.”
Royal Descent is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $10, while Fawkner ($4) remains a clear favourite from Sacred Falls ($6), Adelaide ($6) and Criterion ($8.50).