Gai Waterhouse has both Wandjina and Almalad in the 2014 Cox Plate field and the leading Sydney trainer is delighted with both her chances in the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley this afternoon.
Wandjina and Almalad were put through their final light paces at Flemington this morning before heading to Moonee Valley for the Cox Plate and Waterhouse told Sky Racing HQ that she was delighted with what she saw from both horses.
Waterhouse said that she was particularly impressed with Almalad and believes that the three-year-old is in the same condition he was in before he took out the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
“I was just looking at them this morning watching them work around at Flemington and they just looked so well,” Waterhouse said.
“Almalad was so skittish and fresh.
“The boy that rides him said that he hadn’t felt like that since the Stutt Stakes.
“It is a big step-up from the Stutt Stakes to the Cox Plate, but he has won at this track and he is a young horse that is very fresh.”
Waterhouse has kept her cards close to her chest about the likely riding instructions for both Almalad and Wandjina and she said that she is yet to decide how she would like to see both colts ridden in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Almalad took up a forward position when he finished eighth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11 and Waterhouse said that she would not be surprised if Craig Newitt elected to press forward early on the Al Maher gelding, while she believes that Wandjina has shown his best form when given the chance to settle in the early stages of race – just like he did when third in the Caulfield Guineas.
“I haven’t committed to a plan and I have left it very much open,” Waterhouse said.
“Wandjina is a horse that use to race on the speed in Sydney, but he has been at the back of the field in his two runs since coming to Victoria.
“I couldn’t be happier with a horse like Almalad and he could just jump and put himself right there.”
Almalad has been backed into 2014 Cox Plate odds of $26 after being available at $41 earlier in the week, while Wandjina is priced at a quote of $31.