Fawkner is a clear favourite in 2014 Cox Plate betting markets and owner Lloyd Williams is desperately hoping that the talented grey can deliver him his maiden win in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Williams has gone close to winning the Cox Plate on a number of occasions, most famously when Mahogany finished a close second behind Octagonal in the 1995 edition of the race, but the Cox Plate Trophy remains the only major piece of silverware from the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival that is missing from the Macedon Lodge trophy cabinet.
The enigmatic owner told Racing Ahead this morning that he has always had a major interest in the Cox Plate, due to his relationship with former Moonee Valley Racing Club Chairman Bill Stutt, and said that he is thrilled to be going into the 2014 edition of the race with a live chance.
“It is such a privilege to have a runner in the Cox Plate,” Williams said.
“I’ve been doing it since 1974 because I’m old, but haven’t had any luck in the race; I’ve run second, third and fourth a few times.
“You are truly fortunate to be a participant in the Cox Plate, it is a great tradition of Australian racing and it has always fascinated me the race.
“It is an elite race and the Moonee Valley committee do a fabulous job in promoting it.
“When you look back through the history of the race there are some great horses that have won this race.”
The Cox Plate was selected as the major 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Fawkner after he took out the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last year and Williams believes that the Reset gelding has had an ideal preparation for the race.
Williams feels that Fawkner has had the best Cox Plate lead-up form of any of the horses in the race, while he is confident that the presence of The Cleaner will make sure that the Group 1 event is run at a tempo that will suit his star galloper.
“I think that he is tough Fawkner and he has proven mile and a half horse in the Caulfield Cup.
“We targeted him for this race 12 months ago as soon as we won the Caulfield Cup and we gave him one run in the autumn, which is my practice not to tax them in the autumn.
“He has had two runs in and he was beaten by Peter Moody’s horse first-up at 1600 and he won the Caulfield Stakes at 2000 metres.
“He is in very good order, I couldn’t be happier with him up here and it is just a matter of whether he is good enough or something is a little bit better than him on the day.
“He is the right sort of horse for the race and I do think that this race will be run at a fairly reasonable tempo and you will need a fairly strong horse to be at the finish.
“He doesn’t put in any bad runs and he has a 45 percent winning strike rate.”
Fawkner was far from disgraced when sixth behind Fiorente in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 and Williams confirmed that the seven-year-old would have a second tilt at ‘the race that stops a nation’ as long as he came through his Cox Plate run without an issue.
“I would think so,” Williams said of the Melbourne Cup.
“You always wonder about racehorses, but if he is well he will certainly run in the Melbourne Cup.
“We will see what happens after Saturday, but at this moment the present idea is to run him in the Melbourne Cup.”
Fawkner ($4.50) remains a clear favourite in the 2014 Cox Plate betting market with Ladbrokes from Adelaide ($6.50), Criterion ($7) and Sacred Falls ($7.50).