Fawkner is on top of the 2014 Cox Plate tips of leading form analyst Daniel O’Sullivan and he believes that the talented gelding will prove tough to beat in the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley tomorrow.
Fawkner was set for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) after he took out the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last year and he has had the ideal preparation for the race after finishing second in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13 and the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 11.
O’Sullivan told RSN that he believes Fawkner is a deserving Cox Plate favourite and he said that he is happy to back the Reset gelding at his current 2014 Cox Plate odds of $4.60.
“I have Fawkner at around $4.50, which is virtually identical to the market,” O’Sullivan said.
“He comes into the race with the best figures and he is only third-up here.
“Before his last start win I mentioned that he improved in each of his runs before his fourth-up peak in the Caulfield Cup, what he was set for, and we know that he has been set for this race.
“He is pretty likely to improve on what he did last start, he is proven in high pressure race and he is the Caulfield Cup winner so he has no problem with 2000 metres even if it is strongly run.
“He looks to settle in a pretty good position on the map and I think he is certainly the horse to beat.”
O’Sullivan believes that Australian Derby winner Criterion and consistent mare Royal Descent are both capable of winning the Cox Plate, but he rates Sacred Falls as the major danger to Fawkner in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
There have been questions asked about the ability of Sacred Falls to run out a strong 2040 metres, but O’Sullivan is confident that the five-year-old will stay the trip and will be tough to beat if he can replicate his performance when second behind It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick earlier in the year.
“Sacred Falls is a very interesting runner,” O’Sullivan said.
“He was 2.5 lengths behind Fawkner last start, but he did get a long way back and I thought that it was a pretty casual ride until they straightened for home and there was certainly an opportunity there to be off and going before then.
“He has some very big spike performances at his best and most notably one of those was in the autumn in the Queen Elizabeth behind It’s A Dundeel in a brutally run race.
“I personally don’t understand all this talk that he isn’t a 2000 metre horse because that Queen Elizabeth Stakes race was run at a very fast pace set-up by Carlton House and Sacred Falls had no trouble finishing off there.”
“He is a horse that can peak to a number here that can make him very hard to beat.”
Fawkner ($4.60) remains a clear favourite in 2014 Cox Plate betting markets from Adelaide ($7), Criterion ($7) and Sacred Falls ($7.50).