Cox Plate Tips – New Queen of the Valley to Emerge
Looking for the best Cox Plate race analysis and tips? Our form expert dissects the weigh-for-age championship from every angle and gives his top predictions.
Cox Plate Preview
A classy field of 14 plus one emergency is set to contest Saturday’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley where Russian Camelot heads the market at $4.80 ahead of Arcadia Queen and Armory at $5.50 apiece.
In 2020 we see five internationals lining up with Aidan O’Brien preparing Armory and Magic Wand, his son Joseph trains Buckhurst, Roger Charlton trains Aspetar and Sir Dragonet now races for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
The local 10 come through seven different form races including the Caulfield Stakes (2000m), Hill Stakes (2000m), Craven Plate (2000m), Caulfield Cup (2400m), Epsom Handicap (1600m), Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and The Metropolitan (2400m).
Each of those seven races rated within four lengths of each other, with Probabeel producing the highest last start BM performance going 10.9 lengths quicker than standard, while Mugatoo rated lowest going 6.9 lengths quicker than BM.
How do the internationals rate?
Aspetar, Sir Dragonet and Armory are yet to race in Australia which complicates things, while Magic Wand is back for another crack after finishing 4th last year, and Buckhurst faces the quick back up following a 7th placing in the Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Sir Drangonet defeated Armory and Buckhurst in the Gold Cup (2012m) on a Soft track, and Buckhurst defeated Sir Dragonet in the Alleged Stakes (2012m) on a Good track.
There is plenty of rain predicted leading up to the Cox Plate so I’m leaning toward Sir Dragonet of that trio if the track is Soft or worse, but he also goes into the race with synthetic hoof filler which is a slight concern.
I’m not sure Aspetar will be suited by the tight-turning track, and he was disappointing in the Hong Kong Vase (2400m) after enjoying the run of the race.
Magic Wand led and weakened last year before running in the Melbourne Cup and then backing up and winning the Mackinnon Stakes.
It wouldn’t surprise if she sets the speed for Armory here and again has the Mackinnon in her sights.
Who are the top local hopes?
Probabeel set a new PB last start and will have to do so again to be successful here. This race may come a bit soon for her and she might be another year away from being a legitimate 2000m at weight-for-age.
Nettoyer rated next best for her 2nd placing in the Craven Plate, but the Hill Stakes a fortnight earlier was run nearly nine lengths quicker so I’m willing to risk her.
Grandslam also produced a PB last start going 10.5 lengths quicker than BM, and he can almost certainly improve on that.
The full brother of Jameka has only had six starts, and he went way too quick last time going 15.7 lengths faster than standard to the 600m mark.
He drops 7kg into this run and if he can slow it up a bit early, he could be the surprise packet.
And let’s not forget Humidor! He ran the mighty mare Winx to half a length in the 2017 Cox Plate and was 3rd behind Winx and Benbatl the following year.
His career looked over before Chris Waller resurrected him and trained him to victory in the Feehan Stakes (1600m) first-up at The Valley.
He then finished 2nd to Russian Camelot in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) and 3rd behind Arcadia Queen and Russian Camelot in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
And he now gains an advantage over that pair as he’s proven at The Valley.
Master Of Wine was outgunned by Buckhurst late in the Caulfield Cup so I can’t have him here, Mugatoo rates lowest and Fierce Impact and Kolding have hit their peaks and look unlikely.
Who will win the Cox Plate in 2020?
Russian Camelot and Arcadia Queen are the top pair in the market, and I can’t believe the mare has landed on the second line of betting.
I tipped her in the Underwood where she looked inferior to Russian Camelot as she come home in what was arguably in the slow part of the track.
That saw myself and many others drop off her in the Caulfield Stakes where she settled last off an even tempo and finished far too strong for Russian Camelot.
She possesses the ability to reel off super quick sectionals from the 600m to 400m and 400m to 200m, and that will take her a long way in a Cox Plate when she needs to be leveling up to the leaders midway down the straight.
Her PB of 16.6 lengths quicker than BM over 1800m is the top figure of any horse in this race, and she produced that sixth up from a spell.
Arcadia Queen comes into the Cox Plate at her fifth run this time in and should be ready to show her absolute best.
Russian Camelot can push her again, and I think Grandslam will be in it for a long way while Humidor sneaks into the First 4 also.
Armory looks the best of the internationals and should be included in multiples too.
Tough race and as always, it will be a spectacle, but Arcadia Queen does look hardest to beat and can become the new Queen of The Valley.