Australia’s WFA classic, the Cox Plate, will take place this Saturday and we have analysed every aspect of the race. 10 runners will contest this year’s Cox Plate, which is often seen as one of the greatest races in the world. This year, there are eight Group One winners, with the two others have placed at Group One level and won at Group Two level, indicating the class throughout.
As of early Thursday afternoon, Sportsbet has Zaaki as $2.80 favourite, with punters expecting him to bounce back from his poor showing last start in the Might And Power. He is followed by exciting Godolphin Colt, Anamoe ($4.40), and champion mare, Verry Elleegant ($5). The track is currently rated a Good4, but there is 6-10mm forecast for Friday and 4-8mm for Saturday. Given there is Friday night racing at the Valley for the Manikato Stakes meeting, this track could be worse for wear by 5:15pm on Saturday, when Race 9 (the 17th for the weekend) rolls around.
However, we have taken all of this under consideration when analysing each aspect of the 101st running of the WFA Cox Plate. Read on to find our runner by runner preview of the 2021 Cox Plate and find The Shark’s best tip below!
— Cox Plate Carnival (@CoxPlate) October 15, 2021
1. Zaaki (SCR)
2. Dalasan (3) – $23
Jockey – Daniel Moor
Trainer – L Macdonald & A Gluyas
Dalasan may be an afterthought for some but he definitely shouldn’t be. Last preparation he ran third in a 1600m handicap race at Randwick (Doncaster Mile) third up before running in a WFA 2000m race (Queen Elizabeth Stakes) fourth up, finishing third, just 0.7L behind Addeybb and 0.2L behind Verry Elleegant. Now looking at this prep, last run, when third up, Dalasan came 3rd in the Epsom Handicap, a 1600m handicap race at Randwick, and now contests a WFA 2040m race and is priced at $61/$13…
3. Gold Trip (SCR)
4. Callsign Mav (5) – $34
Jockey – Luke Nolen
Trainer – John Bary
Callsign Mav comes into the race with the best form, winning back to back Group Ones in New Zealand. He is rising through the distances, winning at 1400m and 1600m, however he has only raced above 1600m once in his career, finishing 3rd in a Group Three in April. He will be forward and give himself every chance at the Valley but that form isn’t good enough here.
5. Mo’unga (4) – $6.50
Jockey – Hugh Bowman
Trainer – Annabel Neasham
Mo’unga is a very interesting runner. While some may be put off by his last start 5th in the Epsom Handicap, he carried 57kg there and still found the line strongly. His two runs before that saw him beat Verry Elleegant first up in the Winx Stakes before finishing just 0.3L off Incentivise in the Makybe Diva. That form obviously stacks up and barrier four should mean he has plenty of cover and can burst home in the finish. He has the turn of foot to win this, it is just whether he can find clean air travelling around the bend and entering the straight.
What did you make of Verry Elleegant’s work at The Valley on Tuesday? pic.twitter.com/ABTRVJcci8
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) October 20, 2021
6. Verry Elleegant (9) – $3.70
Jockey – Damian Lane
Trainer – Chris Waller
The champion mare and most credentialed runner in this race, Verry Elleegant finds herself as third favourite in the Cox Plate, the lowest she has been in the market in a race 2400m or less over the last two years. She clearly wasn’t at her best in the Turnbull, when finishing fourth behind Incentivise, but that track was firming up and she likes it wet. She will get that here, if the rain comes as forecast, however she will need to be back to her Caulfield Cup winning best to win this.
7. Probabeel (7) – $9.50
Jockey – Brett Prebble
Trainer – Jamie Richards
Probabeel made headlines in her last start, winning the Might And Power, finishing ahead of Nonconformist and Zaaki. Nonconformist came out and ran second in a Caulfield Cup while Zaaki is just $2.80 for this race, but she is priced at $14 here? Brett Prebble is the most in-form jockey in the country, winning five of the 11 Group Ones in Victoria this season and Probabeel has proven she can compete at this level over 2000m, she will just be hoping that the rain holds off, as she is much more effective on top of the ground.
8. State Of Rest (8) – $7
Jockey – John Allen
Trainer – Joseph O’Brien
Another interesting European-raider, State Of Rest comes into the Cox Plate on the back of a last start Group One win in the Saratoga Derby. Joseph O’Brien has sent this colt down to Australia specifically for this race and he must be impressed by State Of Rest’s incredible turn of foot, which was on display in that Derby win. He typically settles back in the field so the wide draw isn’t the worst thing in the world and he just needs to find a back to follow around the bend.
9. Anamoe (10) – $3.10
Jockey – Craig Williams
Trainer – James Cummings
The X-factor three-year-old colt that has been impressive in all of his career runs. He was able to overcome the wide draw in the Caulfield Guineas two weeks ago, winning by half a length there, following up from an impressive second in the Golden Rose and a win in the Run To The Rose first up. The big positive, like Captivant, is that he drops to 49.5kg for this race, after racing exclusively with 56kg or heavier prior to this. His ratings stack up as a three-year-old that will be able to make a splash in this race, but did he peak in the Caulfield Guineas?
WHAT A COLT!
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) October 9, 2021
10. Captivant (1) – $11
Jockey – Dean Yendall
Trainer – Peter & Paul Snowden
Captivant is a very interesting runner in this year’s Cox Plate. While he has just two wins from 10 career runs, and finished 2nd to Anamoe in that Caulfield Guineas, Captivant’s two best career runs have been at 1600m and his finish last start made it look like he is screaming for further. Based on their runs in the Caulfield Guineas, there shouldn’t be this big of a price difference between the two runners and he looks like a great exotics play.
You could genuinely make a case for all of these horses following the sratchings of two of the main chances. The 101st running of the Cox Plate looks to be a cracking one and we are siding with Verry Elleegant to bounce back to her best and win a 10th Group One.
She did have a flat run last time out, in the Turnbull Stakes, but was still just a couple of lengths of Incentivise, which is an incredible form-line. Chris Waller has also stated that her condition is much better than the lead up for that race, her appetite is as good as it has ever been and she is back to the way she looked prior to her Caulfield Cup win last year.
The rain has come in Melbourne and Moonee Valley is currently in a soft range, which means that Verry Elleegant will get conditions to suit. Given there are only eight horses left in the race, she looks like a great bet and a good possibility to load up, especially with both Sportsbet offering bonus back up to 5th. This promo means that you should go home with a winning bet or, at worst, a bonus bet to spend on the last race of the day or on Pikey in the feature at Ascot!
Best Cox Plate Tip: Verry Elleeant – Win ($3.70)
There is plenty more Group One racing happening this weekend! If you want to check out our Runner-By-Runner analysis for Friday night’s Manikato Stakes, click here! If you want a preview of the talented three-year-olds contesting the Bondi Stakes, click here!
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Cox Plate page for all your punting needs!
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Sportsbet. (Updated on Saturday morning following the scratching of Zaaki.)