Co-trainer and son of goliath owner Lloyd Williams, Nick Williams confirmed his father was “obsessed” with the Cox Plate, which is the sole Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival major on the agenda for last Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes winner Fawkner.
Last spring Team Williams took Reset gelding Fawkner from a Cox Plate second behind Ireland’s Adelaide into the ‘race that stops a nation’ on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington where the now eight-year-old ran 10th to German raider Protectionist in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Williams has won Australia’s iconic two mile classic four times with: Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007) and most recently Green Moon (2012).
The Melbourne Cup however is off the spring agenda of $3.67 million earner Fawkner who instead will be prepped only for another shot at the $3 million Group 1 William Hill Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday October 24.
“(Lloyd) is probably more obsessed with the Cox Plate than any other race at the moment because it’s the one that’s eluded him in 50 years,” Williams told Correct Weight on Sunday.
Futures Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is now led by Fawkner ($10) following his gutsy neck win over the now David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained mare Rising Romance in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) over the weekend.
Fawkner was second in last year’s Makybe Diva Stakes behind the since retired Peter Moody-trained Dissident before a win in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on way to the Cox Plate.
He will follow the same path this preparation with Williams confirming the $400,000 Caulfield Stakes on Caulfield Guineas Day, October 10, as the next-up assignment for Fawkner once again.
“(Fawkner) will go to the Caulfield Stakes, like he did last year, and then into the Cox Plate,” he said.
“He’s got a couple of big assignments ahead so there’s still a bit left in the tank.”
While Fawkner won’t go from the Cox Plate into the Melbourne Cup, Williams confirmed the latter major was on the cards for stablemate Foundry, a $101 roughie in betting for the world’s richest handicap.
Six-year-old Galileo gelding Foundry was last seen running a brave third when beaten only three quarters of a length by the Chris Waller-trained winner Silverball in the Group 3 Kingston Town Classic (2000m) at Rosehill on Golden Rose Day over the weekend.
Foundry could have one more run between now and a shot at either Sydney’s $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 3, Epsom Handicap Day, or the $300,000 Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington the next day over the long weekend.
“(Jockey) James McDonald gave him an absolutely glowing review yesterday and he’s a horse I’ve got a lot of time for,” Williams said.
“I think he’ll be right in the Cups markets.”
Melbourne Cup weights are released tomorrow, Tuesday September 15, ahead of the first acceptances on October 6.