Fawkner and Criterion are the 2014 Cox Plate tips of form analyst Deane Lester and he believes that the duo can quinella the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley this afternoon.
Fawkner started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a close second behind Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13 before taking out the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11, while Criterion stamped himself as a genuine Cox Plate contender with a fast-finishing second in the same race.
Lester told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he is expecting a similar finish in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) this afternoon and believes that the Caulfield Stakes quinella have the perfect form line for the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
“I am trusting the form line of the Caulfield Stakes in tipping Fawkner ahead of Criterion.
“They ran the quinella in that race and I am suggesting that they will run the quinella the race again.
“I am sticking with Fawkner, he has had a great campaign, as had Criterion, and he is ready to peak fifth run in again as he did in the autumn when he won the Derby.
“Staying at 2000 metres is a plus as well and I think that they are the two.”
Lester has Fawkner and Criterion as his clear standout selections in the Cox Plate, but believes that Happy Trails and Sacred Falls both represent good value at their current Cox Plate odds and should be included in exotic bets.
Happy Trails had no luck in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) before finishing a credible fifth in the Caulfield Stakes and Lester refuses to rule him out of his Cox Plate chances, while he believes that Sacred Falls will need some luck in the early stages of the race.
“The luck hasn’t gone his way at his last two and I don’t think there is anything wrong with the way that he is going,” Lester said.
“If he can get the breaks today he will be somewhere about because he has beaten Fawkner on two occasions at Group 1 level in the Turnbull and in the Emirates.
“Sacred Falls is my next best and he will be running on.
“He probably has to be ridden conservatively early, but he can get into the money.”
Fawkner is set to start the 2014 Cox Plate as favourite from Criterion ($6), Adelaide ($8) and Sacred Falls ($8.50).