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Cox Plate 2021: Review and Buildup


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Nominations - Tuesday 19 October 2021

Ladbrokes Cox Plate

Time TBC2040mGroup 1COX PLATE
RACE DETAILS
 
2649.png Callsign Mav (NZ)
T: J.Bary  
 

2#

1

59kg

N/A 23-11  
 
167452.png Dalasan
T: L.Macdonald & A.Gluyas  
 

1#

2

59kg

N/A 3-083  
 
10056.png Elephant (NZ)
T: Emma-Lee & David Browne  
 

3#

3

59kg

N/A -1218  
 
143859.png Gold Trip (FR)
T: C.Maher & D.Eustace  
   

4

59kg

N/A 52-3-  
 
61142.png Harbour Views (FR)
T: M.J.Williams  
 

1#

5

59kg

N/A 0-134  
 
7344.png Homesman (USA)
T: Anthony & Sam Freedman  
 

1#

6

59kg

N/A 2-240  
 
181870.png Incentivise
T: P.G.Moody  
   

7

59kg

N/A 1-111  
 
165873.png Irish Flame (NZ)
T: M.B.Scott  
 

2#

8

59kg

N/A 3-300  
 
187403.png Keiai Nautique (JPN)
T: M.C.Smith  
 

2#

9

59kg

N/A 0-474  
 
1446.png Superstorm
T: D.T.O'Brien  
 

1#

10

59kg

N/A -4133  
 
45880.png Zaaki (GB)
T: A.S.Neasham  
 

1#

11

59kg

N/A 1-113  
 
178058.png Mo'unga (NZ)
T: A.S.Neasham  
 

2#

12

57.5kg

N/A 7-125  
 
9076.png Colette
T: J.A.Cummings  
 

1#

13

57kg

N/A 4-651  
 
175561.png Probabeel (NZ)
T: J.Richards  
 

3#

14

57kg

N/A -1521  
 
183831.png Sierra Sue (NZ)
T: T.Busuttin & N.Young  
   

15

57kg

N/A 11710  
 
186545.png Verry Elleegant (NZ)
T: C.J.Waller  
   

16

57kg

N/A 2-214  
 
86430.png State Of Rest (IRE)
T: J.P.O'Brien  
 

3#

17

56.5kg

N/A -3-1-  
 
177291.png Duais
T: E.A.Cummings  
 

1#

18

55.5kg

N/A -3610  
 
149478.png Hungry Heart
T: C.J.Waller  
 

3$

19

55.5kg

N/A 1-848  
 
183514.png Anamoe
T: J.A.Cummings  
 

1#

20

49.5kg

N/A 1-121  
 
183130.png Artorius
T: Anthony & Sam Freedman  
 

2#

21

49.5kg

N/A -2243  
 
183130.png Captivant
T: P. & P.Snowden  
 

1#

22

49.5kg

N/A -3672  
 
183831.png Forgot You (NZ)
T: T.Busuttin & N.Young  
 

2#

23

49.5kg

N/A -3116  
 
140303.png Giannis
T: C.J.Waller  
 

4$

24

49.5kg

N/A 2-190  
 
167744.png Lightsaber
T: P.G.Moody  
 

3#

25

49.5kg

N/A -6414  
 
 
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Sad indictment on our times unfortunately , I'm at the stage where my wife and i do what's right for us first and make sure we enjoy what ever time we get together .  

R6 @The Valley is interesting...Elephant,Rhinocerous and Buffalo River. Could be a safari suit...trifecta!

Very rare in Sydney or Melbourne to relegate in a big race.Thats the reality.

Posted Images

Cox Plate Field.

Ladbrokes Cox Plate

Time TBC2040mGroup 1COX PLATE
RACE DETAILS
HORSE   GEAR WGT RTG LAST 5
logo-sportsbet.svg
 
TOTE
FIXED
45880.png 1. Zaaki (GB) (6)
T: A.S.Neasham   J: J.B.McDonald
 

1#

59kg

N/A 1-113  
 
167452.png 2. Dalasan (3)
T: L.Macdonald & A.Gluyas   J: D.Moor
 

1#

59kg

N/A 3-083  
 
143859.png 3. Gold Trip (FR) (2)
T: C.Maher & D.Eustace   J: D.Oliver
   

59kg

N/A 52-3-  
 
2649.png 4. Callsign Mav (NZ) (5)
T: J.Bary   J: L.Nolen
 

2#

59kg

N/A 23-11  
 
178058.png 5. Mo'unga (NZ) (4)
T: A.S.Neasham   J: H.Bowman
 

2#

57.5kg

N/A 7-125  
 
186545.png 6. Verry Elleegant (NZ) (9)
T: C.J.Waller   J: D.M.Lane
 

1$

57kg

N/A 2-214  
 
175561.png 7. Probabeel (NZ) (7)
T: J.Richards   J: B.Prebble
 

3#

57kg

N/A -1521  
 
86430.png 8. State Of Rest (IRE) (8)
T: J.P.O'Brien   J: J.Allen
 

3#

56.5kg

N/A -3-1-  
 
9076.png 9. Anamoe (10)
T: J.A.Cummings   J: C.Williams
 

1#

49.5kg

N/A 1-121  
 
183130.png 10. Captivant (1)
T: P. & P.Snowden   J: D.Yendall
 

1#

49.5kg

N/A -3672  
 
9

McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup

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Smith 'upset' over Cox Plate exclusion

Andrew Eddy
Andrew Eddy@fastisheddy
 
9:53am
 
Matthew Smith
Trainer Matthew Smith. Picture: Bradley Photographers

An upset trainer Matthew Smith said he does not understand why his Japanese horse Keiai Nautique was eliminated from the Cox Plate field on Tuesday morning.

The Warwick Farm trainer heard the news of his horse’s elimination just 30 minutes after the horse had trialed at Randwick and he said he was left stunning by the decision of the Moonee Valley Racing Club to have just 10 runners in their feature event.

“I am upset because I don’t understand it,” Smith said on Tuesday morning.

“It’s not even a full field. What’s the damage of him going around? He’s a good horse and he’s going well and he trialed super this morning (fourth) so I don’t see what the damage would be.

“If it was a full field and we got tossed out, I would understand it.

“I wouldn’t even consider putting in a horse in a race like that unless I thought he’d run well. You don’t want a horse in the race that runs out the back.

“He’s going as well as Fierce Impact and he ran sixth (last year) and this horse would do at least something similar.”

Smith said the horse’s exclusion meant he was unlikely to send the horse to The Valley this week to contest the group 2 Crystal Mile.

“I don’t feel like running him there (The Valley) but we’ll definitely go to the Mackinnon and we’ll see how he runs there.”

MVRC chairman Don Casboult announced the committee’s decision to exclude Keiai Nautique just after 9am and he explained to Racing.com:

“We felt that his form was not good enough to participate in the field,” Casboult said.

“He has not won for three years. He won a group 1 race as a three-year-old and I think he’s had 20 starts (since) and over those 20 starts, he’s been placed on one occasion.”

5250977
Trainer
M.C.Smith
Age
7YO
Sex
Horse
Colour
Bay
Prize Money
$2,634,283
Last 5
15-474
Career
27-3-2-2
POS Jockey Track Date DIST Race WGT MRG Odds  
4  7 G.Boss RAND 2 OCT 2021 2000m HILL STKS 59kg 2.1L $6.50  
7  12 C.Newitt FLEM 11 SEP 2021 1600m MAKYBE DIVA 59kg 4.1L $12
 
4  14 G.Boss RAND 21 AUG 2021 1400m WINX STKS 59kg 0.4L $41  
15  16 Y..Fujioka CHUK 5 JAN 2021 1600m KYOTO KIMPAI 57kg 7.5L $18  
13  17 A.Tsumura HSN. 22 NOV 2020 1600m MILE CHAMPIONSH 57kg 7L $158  
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Who starred at Breakfast with the Best?

Warren Huntly
Warren Huntly@WarrenHuntly
 
11:46am
 
Craig Williams rides work at Breakfast with the Best 2021.
Craig Williams rides at Breakfast with the Best on Tuesday morning.

It was a privilege to be trackside for Breakfast with the Best at The Valley to see some elite horseflesh gear up for Cox Plate weekend. Here are some of the horses that caught my heading towards the Carnival.

 

ZAAKI worked stylishly alongside his stablemate MO'UNGA and shaded him over the concluding stages.

ZAAKI ran his last 400m in 24.45 and appears to have adapted to The Valley well after also working there last Saturday. MO'UNGA was not wearing his raceday blinkers and also appeared to work well.

WATCH: Zaaki and Mo'unga work at The Valley

 

ANAMOE stretched his legs at The Valley last Saturday and paired up with stablemate Best Of Days for a hit out at Breakfast with the Best.

His final 400m of 26.15 was far from the morning's quickest, however he looked bright and strong and cruised around The Valley circuit comfortably.

 

VERRY ELLEEGANT can get a touch keen in her races and her work but she finished off her solo gallop at Breakfast with the Best in impressive style to run her closing 400m in 24.99.

She also ventured to The Valley last Saturday for a similarly sharp piece of work.

WATCH: Verry Elleegant hit the track for her final Cox Plate hit out

 

The leading Cox Plate contenders would have pleased their connections leading into Saturday, in trying to glean something from their final pieces of work I'm leaning towards ANAMOE ahead of VERRY ELLEEGANT and ZAAKI.

 

Outside the Cox Plate, CERBERUS worked impressively over 1400m to run his last 400m in 25.11 and looked in outstanding order leading into Saturday's Vase, while STARRY LEGEND, MARINE ONE and FAKE LOVE worked sharply leading into the weekend recording some of the morning's fastest last 400m sectionals.

Interestingly, BROOKLYN HUSTLE was not a final acceptor for Friday night's Manikato but her work late in the session with stablemate DIESEL 'N' DUST was one of the morning's most impressive gallops, running her final 400m in 24.18 and I'll be most interested to see where she appears next.

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Zaaki perfectly suited by The Valley

Andrew Eddy
Andrew Eddy@fastisheddy
 
8:23am
 
Zaaki and Mo
Zaaki and Mo'unga work at The Valley

The Valley course can be the undoing of some visitors but it appears to be the opposite for Cox Plate favourite Zaaki after he unleashed another impressive piece of work at the Breakfast With The Best gallops on Tuesday morning.

Todd Pollard, who was representing trainer Annabel Neasham, said compared to the Caulfield track, where Zaaki was surprisingly beaten at his last start, The Valley’s make-up suits the powerful galloper.

“He seems to handle this track a lot better than Caulfield and many people say that too when you come from Sydney,” Pollard said.

“Quite often they don’t handle Caulfield but when they come to Moonee Valley they handle it a lot better. In his two pierces of work he seems to get around the Valley perfectly.”

Zaaki worked with stablemate Mo’unga on Tuesday as he did last Saturday morning at their first look at the track and Pollard said the gallops proven Zaaki is sharper than he was when he raced flat in the Might And Power Stakes.

“He seems to be going a lot better than what was going into the last start in terms of his final piece of work on the Tuesday,” Pollard said.

“Raphael, who rides him in his trackwork, he just gets on so well with him. He did exactly what we wanted this morning to keep Zaaki focused and on the job and probably kept Mo’unga up to the mark as well.

“He’s (Zaaki) been perfect. He had a few easy days after the run. We just took him to the beach and he seems to be bouncing now,

“He knows when it is race day. He’s pretty quite at home but it comes to days like this and he prances around and he’s on his toes and he seems right where we want him to be.”

Pollard said the stable also rated Mo’unga chances on Saturday.

“He’s going super for what he does. Zaaki usually has his measure as we saw today but look, the way Mo’unga worked, it was probably one of the better pieces of work you’d see from him.

“He can be very casual, but the blinkers go on race day and they make a big difference.

“It was a bit of pressure off our backs to see them both work well.”

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Is Verry Elleegant flying under the radar?

Tim Yeatman
Tim Yeatman@TimYeatman
 
9:15am
 
Verry Elleegant gallops with Damian Lane at Breakfast with the Best. Picture: Racing Photos
Verry Elleegant gallops with Damian Lane at Breakfast with the Best. Picture: Racing Photos

With nine Group 1 wins, it’s unusual for a horse like Verry Elleegant to be flying under the radar leading into the Cox Plate.

But with so much attention focused on Zaaki and Anamoe, the star mare has somewhat avoided the headlines.

After impressing in a track gallop at Breakfast with the Best at The Valley on Tuesday morning, rider Damian Lane is confident Verry Elleegant will bounce back from a disappointing run in the Turnbull Stakes.

“She’ll be right, she’s a champion, and she won’t stay down for too long,” Lane said.

“She seems to have come through her Turnbull run in good order, happy with where she’s at ahead of Saturday.”

Verry Elleegant at times appeared a tad keen during a piece of work with stablemate Djukon on Saturday, but after this morning’s solo gallop Lane is happy with where the horse is at.

“She was very good Saturday, she worked with a mate, she got very keen,” he said.

“Today was more of a maintenance gallop, but I thought she was in even better order today.

“Certainly a thumbs up from this morning.”

A win in Saturday’s Cox Plate would be Lane’s second, after saluting aboard Lys Gracieux in 2019.

“That was a special day, I think I said at trackwork before that Saturday, the Cox Plate has a funny way of finding the best horse to win the race, hopefully that happens again this time around,” Lane said.

Verry Elleegant is currently a $7 chance with Sportsbet for Lane & trainer Chris Waller in Saturday’s Cox Plate.

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I watched the trackwork on Trackside this morning and the one that impressed me was Zaaki , worked with Mounga and i thought he worked like a horse at his peak , was looking to go faster and for mine primed for a massive race .

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Relive five of the most memorable Cox Plate moments

Jockey Hugh Bowman returns to scale after winning the 2018 Chipping Norton Stakes on Winx.Jockey Hugh Bowman returns to scale after winning the 2018 Chipping Norton Stakes on Winx.
 
 
By Clinton Payne
12:47pm • 20 October 2021
1
Comments

* Vision courtesy of Sky Channel

Some of Australia’s greatest racing memories come from the Cox Plate so the theme this week will be less is more – the videos do the talking.

Winx – 2018

Arguably the most historic day on an Australian racecourse.

Australia’s best horse became the first, and probably the last, horse to win the weight-for-age championship for the fourth time.

It was the great mare’s 29th straight victory when she defeated international raider Benbatl.

“We weren’t there in 1930 when Phar Lap won four races at Flemington,” veteran sports commentator and race caller Bruce McAvaney said.

“This is as close as we’ve ever been to anything that might have resembled that.

“I have been following racing for 60 years. I have never known a day like this, a build up like this. It’s remarkable.”
 

Winx – 2015

This was the day Winx confirmed she was more than just a Group 1 winner.

Her first of four Cox Plate wins, the four-year-old mare was sent out a $4.60 chance and she dismantled her opponents, breaking the track record in her 4-3/4 length romp.

“We’ve got a lot of good horses but you don’t even dare dream about Cox Plates,” trainer Chris Waller said after the race.

“She had a lovely run and she just put the foot down turning for home.

“It was shades of Sunline.

“She’s just a superior athlete. She’s amazing.”
 

Super Impose – 1992

The 1992 Cox Plate showcased one of the best fields ever assembled on an Australian track.

It was a time when there were many heroes on the turf and they all seemed to be at Moonee Valley on October 24.

Super Impose, Better Loosen Up, Let’s Elope, Rough Habit, Kinjite, Slight Chance, Mannerism, Burst, Sydeston, Naturalism just to name a few.

For drama, the 1992 Cox Plate was arguably unrivalled. To this day it remains one of the most talked about races in the first 100 years of the Cox Plate.

Falls, protests and a champ winning – 1992 had it all.

Bonecrusher – 1986

This one was nicknamed ‘the race of the century’.

Two Kiwi stars, Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star, started to surge around the field at the 800m and they proceeded to go head-and-head all the way to the winning post.

“Here come the New Zealanders, Our Waverley Star and Bonecrusher, they’ve raced to the lead 600 out, have they gone too early?” legendary race caller Bill Collins declared.

He then added to the theatre that day declaring “Bonecrusher races into equine immortality” as he hit the post first – his voice sounding like he’d just run a marathon.

Kingston Town – 1982

“Kingston Town can’t win” never has an Australian racing commentator’s inaccuracy been so celebrated.

Known as ‘the accurate one’, the legendary Bill Collins made the declaration as the field reached the home turn before things changed in a flash.

The great horse got his second wind, circling the leaders to become the first horse to win three Cox Plates. 

“He was under the whip and doing nothing – that has to be one of the greatest wins ever,” winning jockey Peter Cook said after the race.

That historic day encompassed everything that’s made the Cox Plate stand alone. 

Things happen at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day that don’t happen any other day of the year on any Australian racecourses and that is why the Cox Plate is no ordinary race.

 
 
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11 minutes ago, Chief Stipe said:

Relive five of the most memorable Cox Plate moments

Jockey Hugh Bowman returns to scale after winning the 2018 Chipping Norton Stakes on Winx.Jockey Hugh Bowman returns to scale after winning the 2018 Chipping Norton Stakes on Winx.
 
 
By Clinton Payne
12:47pm • 20 October 2021
1
Comments

* Vision courtesy of Sky Channel

Some of Australia’s greatest racing memories come from the Cox Plate so the theme this week will be less is more – the videos do the talking.

Winx – 2018

Arguably the most historic day on an Australian racecourse.

Australia’s best horse became the first, and probably the last, horse to win the weight-for-age championship for the fourth time.

It was the great mare’s 29th straight victory when she defeated international raider Benbatl.

“We weren’t there in 1930 when Phar Lap won four races at Flemington,” veteran sports commentator and race caller Bruce McAvaney said.

“This is as close as we’ve ever been to anything that might have resembled that.

“I have been following racing for 60 years. I have never known a day like this, a build up like this. It’s remarkable.”
 

Winx – 2015

This was the day Winx confirmed she was more than just a Group 1 winner.

Her first of four Cox Plate wins, the four-year-old mare was sent out a $4.60 chance and she dismantled her opponents, breaking the track record in her 4-3/4 length romp.

“We’ve got a lot of good horses but you don’t even dare dream about Cox Plates,” trainer Chris Waller said after the race.

“She had a lovely run and she just put the foot down turning for home.

“It was shades of Sunline.

“She’s just a superior athlete. She’s amazing.”
 

Super Impose – 1992

The 1992 Cox Plate showcased one of the best fields ever assembled on an Australian track.

It was a time when there were many heroes on the turf and they all seemed to be at Moonee Valley on October 24.

Super Impose, Better Loosen Up, Let’s Elope, Rough Habit, Kinjite, Slight Chance, Mannerism, Burst, Sydeston, Naturalism just to name a few.

For drama, the 1992 Cox Plate was arguably unrivalled. To this day it remains one of the most talked about races in the first 100 years of the Cox Plate.

Falls, protests and a champ winning – 1992 had it all.

Bonecrusher – 1986

This one was nicknamed ‘the race of the century’.

Two Kiwi stars, Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star, started to surge around the field at the 800m and they proceeded to go head-and-head all the way to the winning post.

“Here come the New Zealanders, Our Waverley Star and Bonecrusher, they’ve raced to the lead 600 out, have they gone too early?” legendary race caller Bill Collins declared.

He then added to the theatre that day declaring “Bonecrusher races into equine immortality” as he hit the post first – his voice sounding like he’d just run a marathon.

Kingston Town – 1982

“Kingston Town can’t win” never has an Australian racing commentator’s inaccuracy been so celebrated.

Known as ‘the accurate one’, the legendary Bill Collins made the declaration as the field reached the home turn before things changed in a flash.

The great horse got his second wind, circling the leaders to become the first horse to win three Cox Plates. 

“He was under the whip and doing nothing – that has to be one of the greatest wins ever,” winning jockey Peter Cook said after the race.

That historic day encompassed everything that’s made the Cox Plate stand alone. 

Things happen at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day that don’t happen any other day of the year on any Australian racecourses and that is why the Cox Plate is no ordinary race.

 
 

Take a look at the win of the great Super Impose.....try and count how many times he was hit with the whip in the last 500m.

Also never realised that Waverly Star was posted so wide the trip...fantastic run.

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Neasham column: The truth behind Zaaki’s ‘bandages’

James McDonald will reunite with Cox Plate favourite Zaaki on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesJames McDonald will reunite with Cox Plate favourite Zaaki on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images
 
 
By Annabel Neasham
02:24am • 21 October 2021
Comments

Zaaki and Mo’unga are ready to rumble for their Cox Plate grand final.

There has been a lot of chat about Zaaki’s unexpected defeat at Caulfield, but after his two gallops at The Valley, I am feeling confident he will bounce back.

One thing that surprised me was people querying the “bandages” he was wearing.

Perhaps they haven’t noticed that he wore them in his Group 1 Doomben Cup win, and has worn them in every race since!

They are bumper wraps, with the purpose of them to protect their bumpers, which is the back of the fetlock.

When they extend at full flight, they can occasionally brush their bumpers on the ground, grazing the skin a little, so the wraps prevent that from happening.

A lot of my horses wear them, including Mo’unga.

Talking of Mo’unga, I think he is the forgotten horse in the Cox Plate.

His form has been outstanding, beating the good mare Verry Elleegant in the Winx Stakes, and only going down by a head to Incentivise just two starts ago. He will run a big race on Saturday.

Cox Plate Horses Altona Beach Session

Zaaki (left) with stablemate Mo’unga at Altona Beach on Wednesday. Picture: Getty Images

 

LUCKY DRAW

It could be a lucky omen that I put James McDonald and Hugh Bowman to work at the Cox Plate (virtual) barrier draw.

We got almost exactly what we wanted for both Zaaki and Mo’unga.

Mo’unga has often been a victim of wide gates and Hugh told me he wanted barrier four.

When Mo’unga’s name came up first, barrier four was what Hugh picked and so his wish came true.

James said he wanted either barrier five or six for Zaaki and he got barrier six.

 

MACCA’S MISSION

I slept very easily the night that we finally got the green tick for James to go to Melbourne to ride Zaaki in the Cox Plate.

James absolutely loves this horse and you can see that love is very genuine.

He was absolutely desperate to get down there – and even after Zaaki got defeated he was just as keen.

James has got a great affinity with Zaaki and to be honest I don’t really even need to talk to him too much about a Cox Plate game plan.

It’s just a matter of having him happy and settling where he is comfortable in the run.

With James, you don’t need a plan or a set speed map as he just rides on feel and instinct.

A good example of that was in the Doomben Cup when I was petrified at the 800m that James was rolling along too quick on Zaaki.

But he knew what he had underneath him, he had gears left, he knew what he was sitting on.

Hopefully, James and Zaaki are a partnership that will last quite a while and they will keep winning together.

 

track gallops

Zaaki (left) and Mo’unga gallop at The Valley ahead of the Cox Plate. Picture: Michael Klein

 

TRAVEL PLANS

With the ever-changing Covid-19 landscape, it now looks like I may be able to get to Melbourne for Cox Plate day.

After some recent developments, it appears as though I may be able to be trackside at The Valley to watch my two horses in the big race.

If I can get trackside, it will still be a shame there will be no crowds and probably not much atmosphere.

But it would be great for me to be able to put a saddle on my two horses before the Cox Plate.

It won’t change anything really in terms of the Cox Plate itself – but I haven’t seen Zaaki for quite a while and it would just be nice to see him in the flesh again.

The Cox Plate is one of the great days of racing, I was trackside for three of Winx’s four Cox Plate wins and they were moments I will never forget.

 
 
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For John Bary, elite horse racing boils down to simple things such as times and timing.

Times, he says, reveals nearly all there is to know about the talents of a horse while timing puts the horse in the best spot possible for the numbers to matter most.

No wonder then, he scoffs as the very idea his horse Callsign Mav can be the extreme outsider in Saturday’s Cox Plate.

“Ratings for me, I don’t think they matter a toss really,” Bary said this week. “All that matters to me is their times. What kind of times they can run in a race or here at home on my track.

“All good horses run time, and, they all do it easily.”

Bary is a New Zealand horse trainer, who will be at home in Hawke’s Bay when Callsign Mav takes to the course for the Cox Plate a neat 10 years after a narrowly-failed attempt by the trainer to win the race with Jimmy Choux.

Callsign Mav, at a domestic rating of 115, is the equal lowest-rated horse in Saturday’s line-up along with three-year-old Captivant and northern hemisphere three-year-old State Of Rest.

With Sportsbet, he is the field’s bolter at $61.

Jimmy Choux travelled three-wide when he tackled the race as a four-year-old in 2011 before Pinker Pinker gained dream splits to run him down late. He could run times too, but maybe the timing was just not right for him to succeed.

“It’s one of the things that I learned early – when I had Jimmy Choux - that when you go from three to four at weight-for-age you are playing with the big boys,” Bary said.

“It’s like taking a school child out and throwing hjm into an AFL grand final.”

When Callsign Mav had just turned four at the beginning of last season, he won his first group 1 in New Zealand but Bary had no thoughts of a Cox Plate attempt.

“He won the Tarzino (Trophy) last season and that was great because he just did it off pure nerves and stuff.,” Bary said. “I said to the boys ‘that’s great but let me just finish furnishing the horse for the rest of the season’, which they did.

“Now, he’s got another 30 kilograms on him so suddenly he’s 530kgs. He’s a big, strong and big-shouldered horse and he’s turned into the real deal this season.

“What told me he was good enough was his two seconds in February this year against Avantage, who was absolutely on top of her game last season.

“One was over 1400 (metres) and the other over a mile. His sectionals there were very good. I think he ran the fastest four final sectionals and finished off with a 10-something and he has improved three or four lengths since then.

“You know that if you are doing those times and still learning your trade, you’re a good horse.”

Bary well remembers the afternoon when Jimmy Choux beat all but one of his Cox Plate rivals after the horse was caught wide. His jockey that day was Jonathan Riddell and the rider was noticeably devastated after dismounting.

“He might not have been everyone’s champion, but he was our champion,” Bary said. “We spent a lot of time with the horse so it was gutting for all of us for that reason. You don’t get many shots at the Cox Plate.

“Probably my biggest regret this time around is that Jonathan won’t be on the horse in the Cox Plate.”

Callsign Mav is expected to go forward for jockey Luke Nolen from his five barrier on Saturday but Bary said he did not think he would lead.

“We don’t have to lead and I would prefer to see him to take a sit,” he said. “I think gate five allows us all the options, I think.

“Captivant from barrier one, a three-year-old with light weight might try and lead us the whole way and I don’t think they will hold Zaaki up this time.

“In a perfect world, I can see us one-out and one-back smoking our pipe.

“Jimmy had a real turn of foot but this horse can just soak up the pressure and if he’s got to press the button 600 (metres) from home, then this horse will just eat that alive. It won’t worry him at all.

“The last two group 1s he has won here, he switched off and pricked his ears and Jonathan had to keep screaming at him to keep him up to the mark.

“But with the pressure of having horses around him, he’ll just keep on going.”

Whatever his placing on Saturday, Callsign Mav is soon to be an Aussie after 36 per cent of the horse was sold on Inglis digital last year for $85,000 to more Australian connections including former jockey Stephen Baster and jockey manager Phillip Roost.

That price now looks a bargain for the horse that has now won $530,000 in stakes, but at one time he was barely worth a bid when purchased as a weanling for just $3000.

Bary said Danny O’Brien will continue to train the horse beyond Saturday.

“With him, 90 per cent is owned by the Aussie boys and I’ve got the other 10 per cent and I just said ‘I’ve had my fun. I’ve made the horse and now it is time to test him and see how good he is’.

“We’ll find out on Saturday. I’ve never been scared to have a go and live by the mantra of ‘those that dare to fail, succeed’.”

“It’s wide open now and if you throw a bit of rain in the mix. There are 10 good horses in it and any one of them could win it. But let’s just hope it is us.”

 

The Valley| 23 Oct 2021

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Waller: Cox Plate ‘very even’ after stars stumble

Chris Waller is confident Verry Elleegant can bounce back from a flat run in the Cox Plate. Picture: Getty ImagesChris Waller is confident Verry Elleegant can bounce back from a flat run in the Cox Plate. Picture: Getty Images
 
 
By Ben Dorries
02:40pm • 21 October 2021
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Master trainer Chris Waller feels the last-start defeats of his star mare Verry Elleegant and key rival Zaaki have made the Cox Plate a very even contest.

“It was shame that Zaaki and Verry Elleegant got beaten last start because it looked like it was a race clash of years gone by,” Waller told News Corp Australia.

“Whether that be a Winx and Hartnell or many of the other great horses.

“It was a shame that both horses (Verry Elleegant and Zaaki) put in a flat run.

“There’s others there now that have made the Cox Plate a very even race.”

Zaaki holds $2.80 Cox Plate favouritism with TAB and Verry Elleegant is at $5, separated in betting by Godolphin’s star three-year-old and Caulfield Guineas winner Anamoe at $4.20.

Bookmakers are giving outsiders Dalasan and Callsign Mav very little hope, but every other contender in the 10-horse contest has been kept relatively safe in betting.

It is a vastly different scenario to when the mighty Winx completed dominated the betting boards in the last three of her four consecutive Cox Plate wins.

With nine Group 1s to her name, it would be a fool who would write off Verry Elleegant after her unplaced effort behind star galloper Incentivise in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington earlier this month.

And that’s especially the case when you consider there was an excuse of sorts.

Breakfast With The Best

Damian Lane riding Verry Elleegant during the Breakfast with the Best trackwork session at The Valley on Tuesday. Picture: Getty Images

 

While nothing turned up immediately post-race, in the days afterwards Waller’s vet Dr Tim Roberts discovered the mare’s blood work was not quite as it should be.

Verry Elleegant’s appetite had also dipped.

It was only a relatively minor issue which was remedied naturally with vitamins and minerals.

However, Waller went back through his records and discovered Verry Elleegant’s appetite was also reduced after arriving for the Melbourne spring in years past.

“We went back and looked at our records for the last two years when she has previously been down there and each time her appetite has backed off a little bit,” Waller said.

“But she managed to get away with it last year in the Turnbull, where she won, but in hindsight she wasn’t impressive.

“Then she rebounded off that and won a Caulfield Cup, so we didn’t really look into it too much at the time.

“The good news is her work last Saturday morning was pretty good and we took the ear muffs off at the Valley on Tuesday morning and let her get close to what she wears raceday.

“Damian Lane said she was a completely different horse compared to the Turnbull.”

 

Waller said there had not been any panic with Verry Elleegant since the Turnbull when she finished 3½ lengths off Incentivise.

Given the blood work issue has been sorted, Waller is approaching the Cox Plate with increasing optimism.

However, he concedes the proof will be in the pudding.

“I’m looking forward to Saturday with a little bit more confidence, but I’m always a little bit cautious after a great horse like her puts in a flat run,” Waller said.

“Is she a champion? Everyone has got their own opinions on that.

“I just think she has been a great horse over a few years now and that separates her from some other Group 1 winners.”

 
 
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Verry special mare set for Cox Plate glory

Verry Elleegant is in search of a 10th Group 1 win when she tackles the W.S. Cox Plate at The Valley on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesVerry Elleegant is in search of a 10th Group 1 win when she tackles the W.S. Cox Plate at The Valley on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images
 
 
By Ray Thomas
05:29pm • 21 October 2021
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The dam cost about $10,000, the sire had a service fee of just $500 – and the product of the mating has won nearly $10 million.

Champion mare Verry Elleegant is the type of rag-to-riches story that keeps the romance in racing. It provides hope that everyone is a chance in this game.

Verry Elleegant, recently crowned Horse of the Year for 2020-21, is already the winner of nine Group 1 races and $9.3 million to be eighth on the all-time leading prizemoney earners.

Sydney Racing: Golden Slipper Day

Victory in the W.S. Cox Plate would lift Verry Elleegant to fifth on the list of Australia’s All-Time Leading Prizemoney earners. Picture: Getty Images

But if Verry Elleegant can win the Group 1 $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday, she will collect another $3 million and vault to fifth in the prizemoney ranking, rising above legendary mare Sunline ($11.3 million).

For New Zealand hobby breeder and part-owner Don Goodwin, 83, Verry Elleegant’s success on the racetrack continues to astound him.

“I had one broodmare, Opulence, when Verry Elleegant was born,” Goodwin said. “I’ve only got two broodmares now.

“For someone like me to breed such a great mare is a wonderful thrill – it is almost unbelievable.”

The story goes that Goodwin was a part-owner of Zed, a son of Zabeel, who showed considerable promise before a leg injury prematurely ended his race career.

Zed had only won a maiden at Hastings so he certainly wasn’t regarded as a commercial stallion prospect when retired to stud but Goodwin retained shares in the young sire.

A few years later, Goodwin noticed the pedigree of the mare, Opulence, who was part of the 2011 NZ Broodmare Sale catalogue.

AUSTRALIA’S ALL-TIME LEADING PRIZEMONEY EARNERS

1 Winx $26,451,174

2 Redzel $16,444,000

3 Nature Strip $14,953,686

4 Makybe Diva $14,526,690

5 Sunline $11,351,610

6 Classique Legend $9,385,500

7 Northerly $9,341,850

8 Verry Elleegant $9,315,744

9 Chautauqua $8,821,935

10 So You Think $8,813,497

Opulence was a moderate performer on the racetrack but her great-granddam was Cotehele House, herself the dam of multiple Group 1 winner Danewin.

More importantly, Cotehele House was out of the incomparable broodmare Eight Carat, herself the dam of five Group 1 winners including champions Octagonal and Mouawad.

“I kept looking at Opulence’s breeding through Eight Carat so I decided to try and buy her,” Goodwin said. He needed to sign a cheque for only about $A10,000 to secure the mare.

Goodwin sent the mare to Zed, who stands at Grangewilliam Stud in Wanganui and the first mating, Verry Flash, has been a handy horse for his owner-breeder, winning eight races and placing at Group 3 level.

Then a year later, Verry Elleegant was born – and the rest is history.

This is Verry Elleegant’s second attempt at the Cox Plate after she ran unplaced behind Lys Gracieux two years ago.

The Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant is a far superior racehorse these days although she goes into Saturday’s race off an indifferent fourth to Incentivise in the Turnbull Stakes.

“Her blood wasn’t quite right after the Turnbull,” Goodwin said.

Racehorse Danewin winning Race 7, Royal Soveriegn Stakes, at Randwick, jockey Shane Dye. 18/02/95.  Sport / Turf / Action

Verry Elleegant is a descendant of the great broodmare Cotehele House, the dam of for top racehorse Danewin (pictured).

“She is a six-year-old mare, maybe it was the trip from Sydney to Melbourne, but she is a lot better now. She is eating really well and the stable is very positive about her chances in the Cox Plate.

“I was there to watch her in the Cox Plate two years ago but she drew barrier four, missed the start and that was the end of that.

“She has barrier nine on Saturday and I think that is quite good to be honest. I have every faith in her.”

With the success of Verry Elleegant, Goodwin has no reason to send Opulence anywhere else but to visit Zed each spring breeding season.

Breeding racehorses can be a time-consuming practice with no guarantees. Often it is frustrating, even heartbreaking business.

“We had a full brother to Verry Elleegant that would have been a two-year-old this season but he suffered a paddock accident in July and had to be put down,” Goodwin said.

“When she had that colt, the mare was haemorrhaging at birth and we almost lost her. She spent a week at the vets recovering so she didn’t have a foal last year.

Opulence with the baby brother to Verry Elleegant

Opulence, with her colt by Zed, making him a full brother to Verry Elleegant.

“But she got through it and had another colt by Zed in August and she is already back in foal to him again.

“I’ve got to get a filly soon, surely. I’m hoping to get a sister to Verry Elleegant so we can breed from her.”

With the pandemic keeping international borders closed, Goodwin is confined to watching Verry Elleegant’s latest Cox Plate attempt from the comforts of his lounge room at his Auckland home.

Finally, Goodwin is obviously the best person to clear up once and for all the spelling of Verry Elleegant.

Once mocked for being a “poor speller”, Goodwin offers a more heartwarming reason for the mare’s unusual name.

“Ellee is my granddaughter’s name,” Goodwin said. “I played around with it and came up with Verry Elleegant.

“I had named her older brother Verry Flash and put to two r’s in his name to make it look different, I think it catches your eye.”

 
 
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Ray Thomas
 

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Zaaki scratched from Cox Plate

Andrew Eddy
Andrew Eddy@fastisheddy
 
7:52am
 
Zaaki and Mo
Zaaki with stable mate Mo'unga at The Valley earlier this week.

Today’s Cox Plate favourite Zaaki has been scratched from the $5 million event due to an elevated temperature.

In what is the cruelest of timing, Zaaki has long been the horse to beat in the Cox Plate, but he has fallen sick on the morning of the race.

Trainer Annabel Neasham put out a tweet just after scratching time of 7.30am to confirm the news, claiming she is ‘’gutted’’ for connections and jockey James McDonald.

Zaaki had been raging Cox Plate favourite since the Brisbane winter carnival with one betting agency already paying out bets for the horse to win the Cox Plate.

The sensational scratching of Zaaki has opened up the way for Godolphin to win their first Cox Plate with the three-year-old Anamoe now likely to jump as favourite.

 

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22 minutes ago, Chief Stipe said:

All those with their bets paid out by the bookies in OZ weeks ago will be pleased!  In excess of $15m!

Wonder if NZTab done the same , I'm sure they would have kept it low key if they have . Not ones to over hype themselves 

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20 minutes ago, Chief Stipe said:

I don't know what others thought of the race but it was a bit of a damp squib in my opinion.  The colt was very unlucky.  Thought the ride on Verry Elleegant was average.

Good race I thought. Verry Ellegant probably using the race for a quiet run to top her off for the main mission I would have thought.

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