Cox Plate 2012: How I see the race unfolding
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The Cox Plate is a Group 1 race held at the Moonee Valley Racing Club to honour William Samuel Cox, who established the Moonee Valley Racecourse in 1883.
The race is run over 2,040 metres and is considered by many to be the Weight-For-Age championship of Australasia.
Track: the track is only about 1800 metres long and has the shortest finishing straight of any major track at only 175 metres. This means that horses that like to lead or who can sit near the front have a bit of an advantage over those that like to run-on, as they generally have to begin their runs before the last bend.
Also, as the finishing straight is also the starting straight for the Cox Plate distance, it doesn’t leave much distance for the horses to sort out the running order before the first corner.
However, the track itself is well-drained and the Strath Ayr surface construction means that there is generally no speed advantage whether you are on the rail or down the centre of the track.
Lead-up: the horses in this years’ Cox Plate have come from six different lead-up races, held either two or three weeks ago.
- Epsom Handicap (Randwick), 6th October, Shoot Out (7th)
- Champion Stakes (Randwick), 6th October, Proisir (2nd)
- Turnbull Stakes (Flemington), 6th October, Green Moon (1st), Happy Trails (5th), Ethiopia (6th), Rekindled Interest (10th), Linton (11th) and Southern Speed (15th).
- Caulfied Stakes (Caulfield), 13th October, Ocean Park (1st) and Sincero (3rd)
- Toorak Handicap (Caulfield), 13th October, More Joyous (4th) and Glass Harmonium (9th)
- Caulfield Guineas (Caulfield), 13th October, All Too Hard (1st) and Pierro (2nd)
Start: the start of this race is very important, not only because there is such a short distance to the first turn, but also because there are four corners in this 2040m race distance. Rosehill, Randwick and Caulfield have three corners over the same distance and Flemington has only one (although it’s a big one).
The three-year-olds should have an advantage in the jump-out and two of them will press on to lead around the first bend.
Pierro has been training in the barriers since his slow start in the Caulfield Guineas and should be able to use barrier 7 to advantage and Proisir should jump well from barrier 10.
Both should head across the field and be leading at the first corner with Proisir on the outside for the first bend. Green Moon and Shoot Out will come across from 4 and 5 and will settle behind Pierro and Proisir, with Shoot Out on the fence.
All Too Hard will likely settle off the rail and allow Glass Harmonium or Rekindled Interest to slide up behind Shoot Out in its inside. Sincero, Happy Trails and More Joyous will be three wide on the corner, in that order and Ocean Park, Ethiopia, Southern Speed and Linton will come out slowly and slot in behind the speed. Ocean Park should be able to position himself behind All Too Hard.
Race: What follows is my thoughts on how the race will progress. However, anything can and will happen in racing.
After the first bend, Priosir will probably pull himself to the front, with Pierro allowing this to happen. Green Moon will allow Sincero to pull in front of him to give him some cover and Happy Trails will remain trapped out three wide.
Munce, on board All Too, may allow Nash to move More Joyous in front of him. If he does this, then his colt will have room to pull out otherwise he may be blocked in until it’s too late. Ocean Park and Ethiopia will remain in file behind All Too Hard, while Southern Speed and Linton may choose to move to the rail.
Around the second corner and up the back straight there should be no change in the order, but Proisir will begin to speed up slightly as they reach the 800 metre corner. Pierro will be happy to remain behind his stablemate, relying on the speed to pull him into the race.
Around the 600 metre mark (halfway down the side straight) is where it will all start to happen.
Sincero will not be able to keep up with the increasing pace of the two colts and Happy Trails will pull ahead followed by More Joyous and All Too Hard.
All Too Hard may be four wide at this point, outside More Joyous, and building up speed. Green Moon will have tried to get out from behind Sincero and may have pushed More Joyous four wide at this point.
Shoot Out will be angling to get out once Sincero has dropped back, Glass Harmonium will be trapped behind on the rail, Ocean Park and Ethiopia will be angling for good positions behind these horses and Linton and Southern Speed will be waiting for gaps to appear nearer the inside on the last bend.
Finish: As they leave the last bend, the strain of the trip will tell on Happy Trails, and Pierro will push out from behind Proisir. Proisir will not actually be tiring, but will not be able to fight off the fresh(er) horses.
More Joyous and All Too Hard will be steaming home out wider and Green Moon may just have managed to gain speed inside them. Shoot Out should be able to pull out behind Pierro, next to Green Moon but Glass Harmonium will have become trapped near the rail.
By this stage, the horses in the back half of the field will be building up speed and possibly be finding gaps, but it will be all too late.
All Too Hard, with his light weight, should be able to pull past More Joyous and win. Pierro will pull his way past Proisir and More Joyous, but Shoot Out should be able to pull past him on the inside to get second.
1. All Too Hard
2. Shoot Out
4. More Joyous
For trifecta multiples:- Green Moon; Ethiopia; Proisir
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