Sydney’s reigning premiership trainer Chris Waller has six of the thirty-six horses remaining in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 at third acceptances today.
Cox Plate favourite Kermadec will being going around in the Group 1 $400,000 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday to further enhance his credentials for the weight for age championship.
Last Sunday’s Turnbull Stakes quinella Preferment and Royal Descent are also among the third acceptances as is the Waller trained Winx, three year old Press Statement and stayer Who Shot Thebarman.
While Press Statement will have to win or run well in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday to earn a start in the Cox Plate, Waller has indicated that he is keen to have last weekend’s Group 1 winners Winx and Preferment joining Kermadec and Royal Descent at Moonee Valley.
“We are leaning towards the Cox Plate with both horses, but we are still keeping our options open,” Waller told The Herald Sun.
Winx proved to be a class above her rivals with a two and a quarter lengths win in the Group 1 $1m The Star 150th Epsom (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday while Preferment nosed out stablemate Royal Descent in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Sunday.
Trainer John O’Shea has four Godolphin gallopers left in the Cox Plate at third accpetances, Group 1 winners Complacent, Contributer, Hartnell and the promising Hauraki.
Complacent and Hauraki are back in form, running the quinella for O’Shea in the Group 3 $125,000 Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday.
While Group 1 BMW winner Hartnell made up plenty of ground from the back when one and a quarter lengths sixth to Preferment in the Turnbull Stakes.
Contributer was a dual Group 1 weight for age winner during the Sydney Autumn Carnival with wins in the $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm and in the $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
But the High Chaparral stallion has failed to fire at two Spring Carnival runs for a fifth to The Cleaner in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 followed by a sixth to Mourinho in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 26.
Both The Cleaner and Mourinho are among the third acceptances for the Cox Plate.
First Lady Of The Turf Gai Waterhouse only has two horses left in contention for the Cox Plate with Pornichet and Ecuador.
French import Pornichet scored at Group 1 level when he took out the $650,000 The Bundaberg Rum Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and ran a bold race at his latest outing when third to Kermadc in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 19.
While Ecuador never gave up when second to Winx, after racing on the pace in the Epsom.
Top Cox Plate fancy Fawkner is one of three Team Williams owned gallopers remaining in, along with European imports Amralah and Gallante.
The highly rated Aidan O’Brien stable star Highland Reel is still in contention to give the champion Irish trainer a chance to win back to back Cox Plates after taking the major prize last year with Adelaide.
Prominent English galloper Arod still remains in the hunt as is last start French winner Gailo Chop.
The Lindsay Park team of David Hayes and Top Dabernig still have high Cox Plate hopes with their three contenders, Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Criterion, Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance and Irish import Dibayani.
Criterion will get a chance on Saturday to lay claims for the Cox Plate when he lines up in the Group 1 $400,000 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield at his first run back in Australia after a trip to Hong Kong and England.
Criterion ran third to Blazing Speed in the Group 1 HK$20m Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m) a Sha Tin on April 26 following his win in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 11.
The Lindsay Park Team then took Criterion to England where he ran fifth with Chad Schofield in the Group 1 £525,000 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (1 mile, 2 furlongs) at Ascot, on June 17 before running sixth with William Buick in the Group 1 £900,000 Juddmonte International Stakes (1 mile 2 furlongs 88 yards) at York on August 19.
Final acceptances for the Cox Plate will be taken at 8:30am on Tuesday, October 20, 2015.