The Marco Botti stable expects the widely travelled Guest Of Honour to show improved Cox Plate form when he lines up in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Guest Of Honour is rated the outsider of the field with Ladbrokes.com.au at $71 but travelling foreman Paul Francis is not dismissing the six year old’s chances in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m)..
“He has come on for the race,” Francis said on the Marco Botti website..
“He is an outsider of the field here – however I think he has a good chance, he needed the race on his Australian Début and Moonee Valley should suit him. He is a big horse and can take some racing to get him spot on.”
Francis expects Guest Of Honour to strip a much fitter racehorse when he takes his place in the field on Saturday after finishing just worst than midfield when three and a quarter lengths ninth to Trust In A Gust in the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11.
Guest Of Honour with Damien Oliver in the saddle, was always near the rear of the field at his first Australian start before making up some ground in the straight and was actually doing his best work at the finish.
Guest Of Honour came to Australia in winning form with victories at York and Ascot in England for Newmarket trainer Marco Botti.
The Cape Cross stallion won the Listed £37,000 Ian And Kate Hall MacMillan Ganton Stakes (1 mile) at York on June 14 then went on to win the Group 2 £100,000 Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes (1 mile) at Ascot on July 12.
Craig Williams takes over from Oliver on Guest Of Honour whose only attempt at a similar distance of the Cox Plate resulted in a six lengths ninth in the 2013 Group 1 US$1m Arlington Million (1 ¼ miles) at Arlington Park, USA.
In the latest Cox Plate market order last start Caulfield Stakes winner Fawkner is the $4.60 favourite ahead of the Irish galloper Adelaide and the David Payne trained Criterion who share the next line of betting at $7.00.
The Chris Waller pair of Sacred Falls, $7.50, and the consistent Royal Descent, $11, are next in the betting just ahead of last year’s Cox Plate runner up Happy Trails at $12, super Kiwi mare Silent Achiever at $14 and The Cleaner at $15.