The chances of Glass Harmonium in tomorrow’s 2011 $3m Group 1 W S Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley may be decided before barrier release.
The consistent grey entire is prone to temperament problems and trainer Mike Moroney believes if checked Glass Harmonium is a very good chance.
Two starts back Glass Harmonium caused some concern before the Underwood Stakes when he got revved up at the barrier – he led and finished fourth to Lion Tamer.
Moroney adopted a blindfold and pacifiers to help calm his nerves before the Turnbull Stakes where he led and fought strongly to go down narrowly to December Draw.
The Cox Plate is like no other race on the Australian calendar with a huge crowd compacted into the small course giving it the atmosphere of an amphitheatre.
The theatrics of big races are intensified at Moonee Valley more than any other course and horses can get upset with it.
Moroney will adopt the same tactics as was in play before the Turnbull Stakes.
Pacifiers will again be placed on Glass Harmonium for the Cox Plate.
“We will make sure he is led to the barrier by the clerk of the course,” Moroney said.
The six-year-old began his career with Sir Michael Stoute in England and was a winner of three races from 11 starts.
“This (Cox Plate) is the race we bought him for,” Moroney said.
“We’re happy with him.
“It will be a tactical race and I will leave it up to Olly (jockey Damien Oliver) a bit, he will do his homework.
“I think the pace of the race is going to be the question mark.
“We won’t lead at all costs, he is not a brilliant beginner and we wouldn’t want to stir him up early.
“He will go forward naturally but if others want to lead they can lead.
“This race opposed to other weight for age races may be run with a bit more speed.”
Moroney says the tight Moonee Valley course holds no concerns for Glass Harmonium and he will handle it well.
“He is a similar type of horse to Maldivian (2008 Cox Plate winner), my horse hasn’t got his stamina but he is similar,” Moroney said.
Glass Harmonium has had seven starts in Australia for a win and five placings.
“With a bit more luck it could have been better,” Moroney said.
“The racing pattern at Flemington beat him in the Makybe Diva won by Littorio and he was narrowly beaten by December Draw in the Turnbull – he could have won a couple of them.
“I suppose Helmet is the one to beat but I have a lot of respect for Jimmy Choux and Lion Tamer as well.
“I think Lion Tamer will go forward early with the blinkers on, he is a pretty good horse.”
Oliver has nominated Helmet as the one to beat.
“It was not a dominant Caulfield Guineas win, but Helmet and Manawanui are two very good three-year-olds’ he said.
“They ran very good time. It was a pressure race on from a fair way out.
“I suppose there has got to be that little element of doubt about him at the distance (2040m) because he’s never been at it before.
“But the fact that he gets such a great weight advantage is going to make him tough to beat.”