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Turf Deli Spring Racing Carnival - Cox Plate Preview 2002
Cox Plate 2002 Preview- Highly Strung 26/10/2002

The Cox Plate attracts the cream of the crop of the best horses going around. The Moonee Valley Racing Club are fiercely protective of their pride and joy and they just don't let any riff raff in through the door. English trainer Mick Channon was going to bring his horse Golden Silca all the way down under for a run, but like the last kid left in the play ground when picking lunch time footy sides he was uninvited and told the big kids don't want you to play with them.

The newspapers and media have been casting their usual predictions of doom and gloom the last couple of weeks with the arrival of the feared foreign invasion. Grandera is the one they will all be buzzing about in the Cox Plate - except he is well known as a nutcase - or 'highly strung' to be polite - in the same way the Gallagher Brothers from Oasis are fine examples of rock and roll arrogance. The security guards will be keeping an eagle eye on him to make sure he does not trash his stable after the race.

Several things are likely to fry Grandera nerves, the tight MV track, the pressure cooker atmosphere, the exorbitant $40 admittance fee, and the endless sledging from the other horses (like "your mother pays sires to sleep with her"). Sledging between horses is of course rife, just like it is in cricket. All it takes is someone in the crowd to blow him a raspberry or poke their tongue out and waggle it and it will be all over.

For this reason, the Overseas Raiders rarely live up to the hype and it's usually only the one at longest odds that actually ever gets near the winning post. The major challenge their trainers face is getting them to climatise to racing down under - they can be quite hormonal and get a little worked up when they need to parade in front of thousands of drunken race goers dressed as nuns, in pink fairy costumes, or in the timeless elegance of   tuxedos with board shorts. The local horses, on the other hand, are quite used to this sort of behaviour and can race unfazed. What they need to do to adjust these horses to Southern Hemisphere racing is to give a few footy clubs on their end of season trip free reign to roam the Sandown quarantine facility with a full bar tab to boot.



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