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Turf Deli Free Form Guides and Tips - Cox Plate 2015

Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: SUNNY - Rail: OUT 3M

Betting Portfolio ($50):
Barely any rain around during the week, and it is clearing up coming into the weekend. Sunny weather forecast for Saturday so you would think this track will be drying out nicely with a later start and a late feature race. MV always has a bit more give than other tracks, so look at a better side of GOOD(4) and getting firmer as the day goes on.

We have had a few years now of this double feature meeting and the track seems to race pretty fairly come Cox Plate day. Maybe just be aware of how much the track wears coming to the end of the program and if it is an advantage to be out racing a bit wider. Smallish fields and there isn’t a lot of speed in some of these races though.

As always it is quite hard to find much in the way of value on Cox Plate Day, and there are clear cut short priced favourites who should go close to winning most races. We have tried to mix it up a bit in the tips and find a few at better each way odds though. We always try and keep it small on this day as often there isn’t much in the way of juicy dividends.

RESULTS: Fantastic day's racing - on a totally unfair track. Dynamite leader's bias and all the winners either lead, or trail up behind the leader on the rails. Most of the horses who ran today had no chance at all. The tips go really well, but we couldn't quite turn it into a profit in the Betting Portfolio.

BEST BET: Race 7: 11-JAMEKA $6 WIN 1st W=$4.30 = $25.80
QUINELLA: Race 7: 11-JAMEKA, 2-SOVEREIGN NATION x $2 1st 11-JAMEKA W=$4.30, X
The fillies seem to be better than the boys this spring and this one has been racing extremely well. Fitter for the 3 runs in. Raced wide without cover 1st up and stuck on well, then stuck on well again on pace 2nd up, before dropping back and running on late at Caulfield. Just seems to be building to something this spring and in a race with a lot of drop back stayers who are looking for further think she might sit handy and pinch this race on the turn. Back her straight out at around $5 and take quinellas with the main danger the (2) , who was really good in the Caulfield Guineas.
RESULTS: Gets the perfect trail into the race and is really solid chasing down a leader who kicked. Really impressive win.

We think the market is all wrong in the feature Cox Plate and we are keen to back our top two picks at double figure odds. The (12) is flying at the moment and will be suited with the speed up front here and as long as he doesn’t wobble around the home turn too much he might finish over the top of these. The (9) is really tough and might be ridden just a little quieter today, and let’s hope the international jockey has his race tactics sorted. Both are last start winners, lightly raced, good win strike rates, seem to be on the way up – and both are at double figure odds, at $13 and $19 respectively. Seems crazy. Can hardly say no to those odds, so back the top pick each way and save on a win bet on the value 2nd pick.
RESULTS: No chance as both of these were caught wide or back in the field on a track where those out wide had no chance at all.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 6: 11-BOHEMIAN LILY $4 EW RESULTS 3rd W=$7.60, P=$2.20 = $8.80
Lightly raced stayer who may be on the improve and her run at Caulfield last start was good when one whizzed around her mid race and she stuck on well on speed. Fit, in form and seems to be going better than most of her rivals in this, some of whom really need to starting showing some form. Not well weighted in this compared to a few she raced against last start like the (10), but think she goes forward here and box seats on the speed and she should be in the finish at around $6.50.
RESULTS: Gets caught wide early and has a pretty good run, but sticks on OK.

QUINELLA Race 10: 7-PRECIOUS GEM, 8-LUCKY LAGO x $1 X, 3rd 8-LUCKY LAGO W=$16.90
We are pleading guilty to backing this one too many times but we are going to go once more. She just struggles a bit in the Group level mares races, but this race is pretty weak. She ran 2nd in this race last year to the mighty SUAVITO. Fitter for the 3 runs in, 1st up here she made a swift run out wide under weight and it was a leaders track that day, and 2nd up she was right in a blanket finish at Flemington. We tipped her last start here and her chances were gone soon after the start when she was at the back of the field on yet another leader’s track and she really didn’t show much. However, note the jockey change here to Williams. He hasn’t ridden her for 8 starts – and last time he did – she won at Flemington. Think he will be much more positive and push her forward here in yet another race with not much speed on paper. Back her each way at around $10, and think she will drift in the betting markets come race time. Then take quinellas with the improving (9), who hopefully isn’t just a Flemington horse, the favourite the (12) who probably gets well backed and the value runner the (8). Hopefully she gets us a collect this time!
RESULTS: Riding tactics were to go forward but she just doesn't put in again. Definitely sacked this time, we have got sucked into backing her one too many times.

The short priced favourite the 1-LUCKY HUSSLER looks incredibly hard to beat in this race under these weight conditions and is likely to start very short odds indeed. But the value runner in this might be the (3), who is fitter for the 3 runs in and has been going forward from wide barriers under a lot of pressure and fighting on well. Last start he worked and crossed from an outside barrier, the inside was off, but he still stuck on OK. He often ends up lumping some big weights in his races and is probably suited by the WFA conditions here against this lot. Has been beaten a few times at short odds in Melbourne before, but don’t let him slip under the radar today at around $20, he has been racing well and won’t get as much pressure up front here today and might provide an upset at odds.
RESULTS: With the track favouring on pacers he should have been really suited, but sat handy and was one of the first horses beaten.

QUINELLA: Race 3: 8-THAMES COURT, 1-MY POPPETTE x $2 3rd 8-THAMES COURT W=$7.60, 1st 1-MY POPPETTE W=$2.70
We need a warm up bet earlier in the day as our first bets are not until Race 6 otherwise. The (8) here has only had the 3 starts and is coming along nicely and should have further improvement to come. Winkers go on and good chance they will go forward here in a race with not much speed so is nice value at around the $8. Take in a quinella with the favourite the (1) who is suited under this weight scale having form in better races.
RESULTS: The favourite never looks like getting beaten, and the other runner was't quite good enough for 2nd.

LAY OF THE DAY : Race 3:2-PRINCE OF PENZANCE at around $3.90 2nd W=$6.40
Winner of this race last year thanks to a great ride though the field, but he hasn’t been going as well this time in. He is fitter for the 3 runs in and the run over the 2400M and gets into a pretty suitable race here at a track when he has won twice. But the jockey complained about the firm track last start and the horse not feeling right, not sure the track here is going to be that much softer, and he was beaten convincingly by the (10) and the (11) there – and yet he starts shorter odds than those two in this race? There isn’t a huge amount of form amongst these so maybe he wins by lack of competition, but can’t have at the odds on offer and prefer to risk.
RESULTS: Drifts badly in betting but jockey is clever enough to go to the lead and he kicks on the home turn and almost pinches the race. We were lucky to get out of this - just.

TURF DELI WONDER BET : Here we try and turn $5 into a whole lot more with a silly multiple bet.
Race 9: QUINELLA: 1,5,6,9,12 boxed x $5 = 50% 2nd 1-CRITERION W=$5.60
Plenty of value in the feature race and plenty of really good horses going around at long odds, so don’t be afraid to back your favourites. We have already backed the 12-PREFERMENT, 9-COMPLACENT to win, the next pick is the 1-CRITERION, and we have to throw in the tough on pacers and our favourites the 5-MOURINHO and the 6-THE CLEANER for a boxed quinella. Steering well clear of the favourites in the betting here so should be plenty of value in the quinella.
RESULTS: Never got warm

SPENT: $50
RETURN: $34.60
NET: $-15.40

The Tips:


6-TAWTEEN 1st W=$3.80
2-DIAMOND OASIS 2nd W=$3.20


8-THAMES COURT 3rd W=$7.60
1-MY POPPETTE 1st W=$2.70

1-HOLLER 1st W=$3.20
7-BROCKHOFF 2nd W=$8.60

Quinella = $14.00

5-LAKE GENEVA 1st W=$8.80
1-SERENE MAJESTY 3rd W=$3.10

11-BOHEMIAN LILY 3rd W=$7.60

Early Quad=$482.20

11-JAMEKA 1st W=$4.30 *** Best Bet of the Day ***
4-TARZINO 3rd W=$4.20

1-LUCKY HUSSLER 3rd W=$2.10

1-CRITERION 2nd W=$5.60

12-AZKADELLIA 2nd W=$4.00

1-CRITERION 2nd W=$5.60

Others: 5, 6

Leaders: 6-THE CLEANER, 8-AROD

1-CRITERION is a well travelled and very smart performer who we had labelled more as a wet tracker earlier in his career, but he seems to go well on all surfaces now. Been to Hong Kong and Ascot over the last year, so nice of him to pop back home and catch up with the folks. Strong finishing type who likes a fast speed and there should be enough pressure up front for him today. We actually tipped and backed him in this race last year – and thought he was a little disappointing. He ran on OK that day, but there were plenty in front of him (including several who are going around again this year). He was coming off a good 2nd in the Caulfield Stakes last year too – so his form this year is quite similar to last year. The Caulfield Stakes win this year was pretty impressive, especially considering he was fresh back from overseas and had a 7 week break, but hadn’t had time to even unpack. You would think he would be fitter for that run too, but nothing between him and the (3) at Caulfield, and that one will start 4 times the odds in this. Nice barrier to stalk them and run on and he may be going better this year. Better 2000M form than many of these. Reckon he would prefer more give in the ground though. That run last year just has us a little concerned, especially seeing his lead up form is almost identical this year. Though guess he really wasn’t beaten that far. However, think he is going to get the run of the race from the barrier with a lot of speed here and he is in winning form. Chance. 2nd W=$5.60

5-MOURINHO is a super tough campaigner and there was a string of years where those sort of horses won this race. We have to declare that this is one of our favourite horses too, so bare that in mind when reading his chances. Won 5 times at this track from 12 starts – in fact it is little known that he started the #LoveTheValley on Twitter. He is continually under rated and has performed at the top level, winning the St George (Peter Young) at Caulfield over the Autumn, and adding the Lawrence (Liston) and Underwood Stakes this spring. We know this horse pretty well and reckon he is much better drawn out as he is today. He takes a while to wind up and he can make a long sustained run, but he sort of scrambles a bit in his action and he has got into trouble a few times when drawn inside barriers as he can’t take quick gaps (especially when he gets stuck on the rails behind the (6) which has happened a few times). Took off a little early in the Underwood and the (6) was coming back on the line, and the (2) was diving at him, but he just held on. Really he is in great winning form so think he has to go in here. Likely to sit wide, and in clear running, they just need to be careful nothing goes wide and early and pockets him before the turn as he is best with lots of running room. Don’t underestimate him. Rough chance.

6-THE CLEANER needs no introduction as the Aussie Battler, front runner, chain smoking, Spirit of Tasmania riding, Legend of Longford. Won 5 starts from 8 races here at MV and has only been unplaced once – in this race last year. His 2000M starts though are more of a concern – only the 1 win from 8 starts at the distance – though guess that was here at MV. Last spring he was leading and running around and winning and going up in class and leading and running around and winning and it just kept happening for him. He got a torrid run in this race last year when he was really made to work early and it was no surprise to see him fade late. He should get a much easier run this year? He actually managed to back up off a tough, hard spring last year and still run a great placing in the Emirates. Short autumn preparation and he was disappointing when a beaten favourite at Caulfield over this trip. He has come back in excellent form though and you simply can’t fault him, in both the Lawrence and the Underwood he led and was headed and was beaten and was coming back on the line for only a narrow margin defeat. He won the Feehan in between here, but the form behind him in that race isn’t looking that strong. He has had a much easier spring his time in and looks perfectly set for this race. Another who shouldn’t be underestimated here. Inside barrier and goes straight to the lead, and he doesn’t really run away from them, but gradually increases the tempo and always gives a kick on the turn here. The 2000M is probably the query with him, in this class and especially if there is any pressure on early. Sure to start way under the odds on the tote due to his fame, so bet with the bookmakers. But can’t knock his form. Chance.

9-COMPLACENT has been flying this spring and it is the Cox Plate that gets the benefit of having a fit, in form, last start winner in the field, after the Caulfield Cup could only make him an emergency last week. Huge run in the VRC Derby in 2013, then had a long injury lay off. Bounced back to form surprisingly quickly with a long odds win 2nd up. Stuck on really well when leading in the Hill Stakes and he did really well to run 3rd there as they were threatening to swamp him for the entire length of the straight. Last start he got headed and he fought back really well to win – he does seem to be a really genuine fighter. Solid 2000M form and he will be suited in a tough slog here where a few are a bit of a query at the distance. Drawn a middle barrier, but there does seem to be a lot of speed here, so think they might just sit off them in this. Just really like the way he has fought on the last few, he is drawn to get a crucial clear run into the race around the turn and it is going to be super embarrassing for the MRC if he wins the Cox Plate the week after not being good enough to even be in the field for the Caulfield Cup. Note an international jockey goes on board here though. Tough and the tempo here will suit and he will run the trip. Strong chance.

12-PREFERMENT is absolutely flying this spring and is one we think is totally under rated. Huge run to win the VRC Derby last spring and he really toughs out his finishes. Then not quite as good during the Sydney Autumn, but think the wet track was against him in the ATC Derby. His last two runs (and wins) have been outstanding. Went wide and early on the turn in the Hill Stakes and got headed by one coming down the inside – and fought back to win. Settled back in the Turnbull and ran straight past most of them, and then got past one that had kicked to win again. They weren’t really making ground running on late that day at Flemington, so his effort to win from well back was really impressive. He seems super tough, and his last three wins he has been issued a challenge and really settled down and stuck his head out. Seems to be a 4YO on the way up – but he keeps going around at double figure odds. Drawn a nice middle barrier here and the main issue with him here is going to be the tight MV circuit. As a 3YO he took a little time to wind up, and he is probably better suited back to the big tracks. But just think he is flying at the moment, the speed on here will suit, and as long as he gets round the turn here without the wobbles he is a really strong winning chance. Top pick.

2-FAWKNER is one of the best WFA horses in the country and has won a Caulfield Cup and went super close to winning this race last year when he had a hard run and was looming on the turn, and just got left exposed over the last little bit heading towards the line. With a lack of genuine WFA stars around it looked like he was going to dominate again this spring with his Makybe Diva win 1st up in a bunched finish. Seemed to hit a bit of a flat spot the start after in the Underwood, but was diving on the line, and then was very disappointing in the Caulfield Stakes when he raced forward and the rails were off and all those towards the inside stopped – and the swoopers fought out the race. Guess you can forgive them one bad run and his form before that was excellent. Normally he is raced quite sparingly and his best form has often been fresh so it is interesting that they have chosen to give him 3 starts this year instead of 2 starts like last year. Outside draw is a issue too as he does normally like to race handy and will probably get caught wide here. Awfully good odds on offer about an awfully good horse. Guess you can’t under estimate him but there doesn’t seem to be much between him and the (5) and the (6). You just get the feeling that maybe he isn’t going as well this year? That last run was very disappointing. Place.

3-HAPPY TRAILS is a tough, grand old campaigner and for some reason that type of horse can actually win this race. He has been around for several springs now and he is normally pretty consistent and reliable and picks up a feature race win each time. He just takes a few runs to hit his best and he has taken a bit longer this year – he has been close up and in the finish of nearly every start, but only finally really threatened last start in the Caulfield Stakes. Form from that race is very strong with the Caulfield Cup winner running 3rd. Really not much between him and the (1) based on the last run – but big difference in the odds. He ran 6th in this race last year, but was hardly disgraced beaten < 1 L and was unlucky not to win this race in 2013 when he was coming hard on the line and only just missed. So that’s two Cox Plates, for a 2nd and a 6th and both beaten < 1 length. Wants the track as firm as possible. We were actually beginning to wonder if he wasn’t going as well this year - but looking back over this form it is pretty much the same every year and he only really strikes form when it gets to the key races. Drawn out and probably drops back here, but not sure that is such a huge disadvantage for this horse and he probably prefers some running room. Just can see him giving these a bit of a start when the pressure goes on. Prefer place.

4-HARTNELL is an import who very quickly got accustomed to life Down Under and has consistently raced at the top level since. Cruised to wins in two Sydney feature races over the Autumn and big plus is that he can race handy and make his own luck in running. He hasn’t quite gone on with it this spring, but his two runs in have both been sound. 1st up he sat handy and fought on well but his stable mate the (9) had his measure. 2nd up in the Turnbull he drew a wide barrier and dropped well back against his normal racing pattern and made OK ground in the straight – and they weren’t really running on that day. Fitter for the 2 runs in and should have improvement to come. Drawn a nice barrier, but think he is the one that is going to get caught on the rails behind the (6) in this – and that one just never budges to allow a run through. Wouldn’t write him off, both runs have been OK and he should be improved. Main concern is that he is meeting a few here that have beaten him home the last 2 starts so they are probably the better chances. Is going better than the form guide suggests. Place.

13-HIGHLAND REEL is the most favoured of the international runners, which means pretty much nothing, except the media has been saying he is the best chance. Seems to be favourite in this race purely on the basis of the same trainer and jockey combination as last year’s winner. Guess the stable and jockey know what sort of horse they need to win this race, but still, punters – come on! Won 4 from 9 and more a solid 2400M horse than the other internationals, so might be suited by the high pressure race here. Aggressively ridden to lead all the way 2 starts back for a cosy 5 length win. Sat handy and was beaten on the turn last start, but obviously something not quite right there. Drawn towards the inside here and is going to be interesting to see what they do – he could get caught right in the middle of a speed battle early if they decide to go forward. Pretty much impossible to line up – but think he is starting way under the odds because of the trainer + jockey so happy to go around on value alone. Looks a solid staying type though so might be suited to the tough grind here. Place 3rd W=$7.50

14-WINX has a huge spruik on her, and fair enough too when you have won your last 4 starts. Only female in the field. Jockey has chosen to ride her instead of the (12). Classic 3YO staying form was excellent and she has a sensational classy finishing burst which is what you want for this race. Does tend to drop well back in the run, but the speed on here will suit. Impressive wins both starts this time in, coming from well back and won the Epsom easily last start with some weight. We wouldn’t really normally consider Epsom form going into this race – but she totally smashed them. Will run out the strong 2000M. Few negatives though, she is stepping up in distance going 1300M/1600M into a tough run 2000M and normally you would want more than 2 lead up runs into this race. Only 2 horses have won this race with only 2 lead in runs in the last 20 years. She has also drawn barrier 1 – and will almost certainly drop back last, which will mean she has to come around the whole field to make her run, or wait for luck through the middle. She is flying and could be a star – but actually happy to go around her today and prefer place. Place. 1st W=$4.50

7-PORNICHET is one we thought would be a leading contender for this race, but he has been seriously disappointing this time in and realistically was pretty lucky to make the field. French import with a flashy French name, who has had a few preparations in Australia now and seemed to be improving nicely – until this spring. Went from strength to strength over the winter with some quite impressive wins, and has a real turn of foot to sprint away from them. Really expected him to come out and go on with it this spring, but his first few runs were all the same – he loomed up like the winner but then faded and was well held most starts. Thought maybe back onto a firm track last start might help – but no. Last run at Caulfield he barely show anything at all. Drawn wide as well and does like to race handy. Can’t have on form. No. 4th W=$53.30

8-AROD is an import and finally the MVRC has managed to convince the imports to target this race after many years of trying and a break through win last year. Our position on the internationals is that we never back them till we have seen them run in Australia, there have just been so many come out over the years and even though they had a winner in this race last year – they rarely produce. Despite what the media would have you believe in that they are unbeatable. Lightly raced with a good win strike rate and has been mainly running over the mile in the UK. Local jockey on board in a big plus, especially in this race when you need to make your run at the right time. He normally goes forward in the run which is going to add to the pressure up front here – and he can be ridden quite aggressively forward if need be based on his videos. Listen out for riding tactics here and what Williams plans to do. Likely he will be up sitting outside the (6) and they will set a genuine tempo in this and wouldn’t be surprised if he puts the pressure on early here. Watch the betting market, but just can’t go backing unknowns, no matter what the press releases say. Risking.

10-GAILO CHOP is another import from France and his form has been more over the 2000M trip. Have to respect any horse that has won 6 starts from 11 tries. Been bought by Australian connections but staying with the French trainer for the time being. Won easily last start sitting handy and going aggressively for home a fair way out. Last two wins have both been on heavy tracks. Local jockey goes on board. He is the least favoured runner out of the internationals, but he should be rolling along in plenty of running room out side and stick on OK. Maybe worth a place chance for the wider trifectas. Else No.

11-KERMADEC is a highly rated Sydney visitor who won on Derby Day in Melbourne last spring. Best known as a feature miler, and he has a great finish, winning the Carbine Club, the Doncaster as a 3YO with no weight, and the George Main, all over the 1600M. Thing is those strong mile horses rarely win this race – and a lot of them have tried coming off the Epsom. Last start at Caulfield we were pretty keen to take him on over the 2000M for the 1st time. He dropped out the back, on a track that was favouring runners on, and had every chance with plenty of time to run on – but the (1) and the (3) both beat him home. Finished on OK, but the Caulfield Cup winner was also behind him, held up longer for runs – and went past him. Don’t think that was a very promising sign for a first run over 2000M – he really just seemed to have every chance. 1st start at MV. He has a stack of ability and sure he will get lots of support, but just think he is a strong miler and not the sort of horse for this race. Risking.

Summary: This is a really intriguing race and you could make a case for most of these in this. There are an awful lot of good horses here going around at really good odds, so if you are a fan of horses like 5-MOURINHO, 6-THE CLEANER, 2-FAWKNER and 3-HAPPY TRAILS make sure you stick with them today. It is also probably worthwhile going back and watching last year’s race seeing the (1), (2), (3), (6) all went around last year as well, and all with similar lead up form.

There was a period of time where this race was a bit of an old warriors race but it is worth noting that 3YO or 4YOs have won this race for the last 6 years now. There are plenty of old warriors in this race too, but it is really time a 4YO stepped up and we had an out and out WFA star in Australia – it has been a while. Note also that only 3 winners of this race have come though the Epsom as their lead up run in the last 20 years, and plenty of Epsom runners have tried to win this race over that time.

There seems to be a lot of pressure up front here and most of these can race in the first half of the field. A lot will depend on what the internationals do, some of them can be ridden aggressively to the lead if they want, or go for home early and make a long sustained run. So the pace should be quite genuine and suspect a few will go early here, with the 6-THE CLEANER leading, the 8-AROD sitting outside him, and the 7-PORNICHET, 5-MOURINHO (wide), 10-GAILO CHOP, 13-HIGHLAND REEL sitting behind that bunch.

We think the market is totally wrong here – the focus seems to be on the international runner because it is the same jockey and trainer as last year’s winner, and the impressive Sydney mare, who really faces a challenge 3rd up, up 400M dropping back to last from an inside barrier. So fantastic value about whatever you like away from these two – and there are plenty of options. Interesting to note that there are 6 last start winners in this field – compared to none last week in the Caulfield Cup.

Really keen on the 12-PREFERMENT as the one on the way up here, in winning form, both wins have been impressive and the speed on should suit and will run a genuine 2000M – only query will be if he gets around the turn OK without losing too much mometum. The 9-COMPLACENT the main danger, maybe just ridden a little quieter, but taking a sit and stalking and he is really tough in his finishes – wish they had kept a local jockey on board though! Both of these are last start winners and are at double figure odds and think you just back both of them to win. The 1-CRITERION the third pick, who should be suited running on, and have to put in our favourite roughie the 5-MOURINHO. Pretty keen to bet though on our top two selections in a betting market that we think is just wrong.

One to risk: 11-KERMADEC 13th W=$14.50
Roughie: 5-MOURINHO

The Key: Lots of pressure up front – sit back here.

RESULTS: Well the market got it right - and we got it wrong! The three favoured runners fight out the finish and the 14-WINX is super impressive running away from them after getting a dream trail along the rails in the best going. The 1-CRITERION should have finished a lot closer after getting badly bumped on the home turn, and the best runs from those going on were the 2-FAWKNER and the 4-HARTNELL
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