Cox Plate field poses challenges for punters

22 October 2014 15:55 PM

The 2014 Cox Plate is shaping up to be one of the most challenging in many years for punters to assess. The barrier draw ealier in the week added another layer of complexity for punters with some of the more fancied runners, like International hope Adelaide $6.50, receiving a wide barrier in the $3 million dollar Group 1 feature race.

Punters trying to assess the form of Adelaide have a few factors to weigh up. The horse has shown he is all class doing no worse than second place in his 6 career runs which have included Group races in the USA, Great Britain, Ireland and France over distances up to 2400 metres. Trainer Aidan O'Brien was delighted with his track work at Weeibee on Tuesday running impressive sectionals with regular jockey David Bergin on board. Despite the impressive record of the horse who aims to be the first International thoroughbred to claim the coveted Cox Plate, there are several factors that will not be in his favour. Barrier 13 is usually a challenging barrier for most racing courses around the world however no words could be truer than for Moonee Valley racecourse, with it's circular shape and short straight. There is usually a significant amount of pressure on horses in the Cox Plate without the challenge of having to negotiate a wide barrier to prevent the horse from receiving a poor position when settling in the race. O'Brien has also introduced some speculation that the horse may not be at its best on Saturday by suggesting it will only improve on its run in the Cox Plate and aims to be at his peak in next year's Autumn Carnival when Chris Waller will be training it for its new owners in Australia.

Lloyd Williams is delighted with barrier 4 drawn for his best hope in the race, Fawkner, describing it as the 'perfect gate' for the Cox Plate and punters seem to agree, with sizeable early bets cementing his position as $4.20 favourite in the race. The seven-year-old has put in two very strong runs this preparation after finishing second to Dissident over 1600 metres and then winning the Caulfield Stakes over Criterion $8.

After missing a place in the Caulfield Cup, Chris Waller will be looking to Sacred Falls $6, Royal Descent $11 and Foreteller $21 to provide him with his first win from the treasured two Cups and a Plate. The Moonee Valley track is rated a Dead 4 with the rail out two metres and is expected to improve to a Good rating by race day. Although Sacred Falls past form suggests he prefers it wet, his effort in the George Main Stakes at Randwick last month shows he is a force no matter what track condition he faces.