Royal Descent has not recorded a race win for 18 months, but trainer Chris Waller remains hopeful that the consistent mare can be the 2014 Cox Plate winner.
Royal Descent romped home to win the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick and looked as though she would go on to record more wins at the highest level of racing, but she has since been unable to return to the winners’ stall despite finishing second on seven occasions.
The Redoute’s Choice mare started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a tough second behind Tiger Tees in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 23 and she was narrowly denied a breakthrough win in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 6.
Royal Descent finished second behind stablemate and Cox Plate rival Sacred Falls in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 and looked as though she had finally scored another race win in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4, but she was caught on the line by another stablemate in the form of He’s Your Man.
Waller told Sky Racing HQ that he had deliberately kept Royal Descent to races over 1600 metres in order to protect head ahead of the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley this afternoon and he believes that the five-year-old will get a lovely run into the Group 1 event and is a genuine chance of delivering him a maiden victory in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
“She has drawn very well,” Waller said.
“She is not a big, strong mare so we have purposely kept her in Sydney just protecting her and keeping her to a mile because if there is one horse that can get away with it, it is her because she always rails up well and tracks well.
“She is drawn to get a lovely run.
“I do think that she has been a little bit keen the last couple of races, but with the pace on today she won’t be keen and she will settle perfectly.
“We will just set her for the race and see if it works.”
Royal Descent is currently available at odds of $11 to be the Cox Plate winner, while Fawkner ($4.80) remains a clear favourite from Criterion ($6), Adelaide ($8) and Sacred Falls ($8).