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Cox Plate Horses: The lowdown on this year’s Cox Plate runners

  • Who are the leading contenders?
  • How will they finish at Moonee Valley?
Happy Clapper

The highly anticipated 2017 version of the Cox Plate (2040m) is set to be run and won at Moonee Valley on Saturday October 28 and this year there is a field of nine runners, headlined by the $1.15 favourite Winx. 

Here is our guide to the nine runners. 

1. HAPPY CLAPPER. Patrick Webster, Damien Oliver, 59kg.

The Patrick Webster trained seven-year-old finished just over a length behind Winx in the George Main Stakes (1600m) three starts ago before claiming his first ever Group 1 race, the Epsom (1600m) in fine style. Since that effort he was slightly disappointing, going down as a $1.50 pop in the Craven Plate (2000m) and while there are some question marks about him over the distance (5:0-1-1), he is well in contention for a top three finish. 

2. GAILO CHOP (FR). Darren Weir, Mark Zahra, 59kg.

One of two Darren Weir-trained gallopers, Gailo Chop heads to Moonee Valley after taking out the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at his last start. On that occasion, the former import controlled the race in front before holding on ahead of the subsequent Caulfield Cup (2400m) placegetter, Jon Snow. A winner of six of his nine starts over the distance, including the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes, Gailo Chop missed out in this race in 2015, finishing eight lengths behind Winx, but looks to be in contention to run the exacta. 

3. HUMIDOR (NZ). Darren Weir, TBA, 59kg.

The Australian Cup (2000m) winner has taken on the best this campaign and was a Group 1 winner earlier on, claiming the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) ahead of Hartnell and Black Heart Bart, before being subsequently thrashed by Winx in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m). The son of Teofilo then lined up in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) but cost himself any chance of victory by overrracing and finished 5th behind Boom Time. On class, he looks to be the logical runner up. 

4. KASPERSKY (IRE). Jane Chapple-Hyam, Michelle Payne, 59kg. $91 at ladbrokes

The former import has performed well in some respectable races overseas but is hard to have based on his only run in Australia when he finished 16th in the Toorak Handicap (1600m). He is hard to have on that effort. 

5. FOLKSWOOD (GB). Charlie Appleby, Kerrin McEvoy, 59kg.

Another overseas galloper is Folkswood and unlike Kaspersky, the Charlie Appleby galloper made a good impression in his debut Australian run, taking out the Cranbourne Cup (2025m) by nearly three lengths ahead of Berisha and Grey Lion. Although this is a big step up in class, he comes from a winning stable and can finish in the top three. 

6. SEABURGE. David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Regan Bayliss, 57.5kg.

The rank outsider of the field, Seaburge comes into this after finishing 5th in the Torah Handicap a fortnight ago, his first decent run in some time. As a three-year-old, the Hayes/Dabernig galloper finished 2nd in the Caulfield Guineas and the Mackinnon Stakes but he looks to be making up the numbers here. 

7. HARDHAM. David Brideoake, Luke Nolen, 57.5kg.

Hardham is another long shot and ran 10th in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) last weekend. Part owned by Black Caviar's former trainer, Peter Moody, the son of Redoute's Choice came 3rd in this year's ATC Derby (2400m) but looks a class below his rivals. 

8. WINX. Chris Waller, Hugh Bowman, 57kg.
Champion mare gunning to become only the second horse ever to win this race. Has won her past 21 races and her past five over this distance have been by an aggregate margin of over 25 lengths. She set the race record for the Cox Plate in 2015 and last year she set a record for the biggest winning margin. She wins. 

9. ROYAL SYMPHONY. Tony McEvoy, Dean Yendall, 49.5kg.

The sole three-year-old in the race, Royal Symphony looked a future superstar before lowering his colour somewhat but finishing 4th in both the Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and the Caulfield Guineas (1600m). On both occasions he may have been unsuited by a lack of pace in the race and can improve on those efforts, but will need to. The Tony McEvoy-trained galloper will have his fair share of admirers, given he carries the featherweight of 49.5kg and is another in contention for a runner-up position. 

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Cox Plate Horses: The lowdown on this year’s Cox Plate runners

Moonee Valley’s showpiece event, the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), will take place on Saturday, October 28.

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