The Cox Plate carnival kicks off tonight as a host of Everest runners will do battle once again for Group 1 glory in the Manikato Stakes.
Vega Magic has been the only horse punters want in betting, smashed from $2.60-$2.10 to record his third win at the highest level. The son of Lope De Vega has been in devastating form since joining the Lindsay Park operation with resounding victories in both the Group 1 Memsie Stakes and the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap.
Palmerbet CEO Grant Palmer is firmly in the camp of the son of Lope De Vega. “He was forced to go back from his wide draw in The Everest after jumping well, before rattling home against the pattern of the day”, he explained.
“With his great ability to race up on the pace, he should be able to assume control from barrier 3 and be terribly hard to beat, clearly on top for us.”
The winner of the last three editions of the TJ Smith Stakes, crowd favourite and champion sprinter Chautauqua will be out to prove he’s still at the top of the sprinting world. A six-time Group 1 winner in his own right, the ‘grey flash’ lines up after a similarly unlucky run in The Everest and is rated an $8 chance in tonight’s big race.
Plagued by an extremely dry spring in Sydney that has resulted in rock hard tracks, the trademark-finishing burst he has become famous for has been nullified in his recent races. The softer surface of Moonee Valley plays right into his favour.
Being kept very safe in the market at $6 is the ever-improving In Her Time, who continues to advance each time she steps out onto the track.
Beating most of her main rivals resuming in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes, the Time Thief mare was unfortunate not to gain a slot in The Everest. She went on to take out the Sydney Stakes and continues on a rapid ascension through the grades.
Add into the fray other top-liners such as the Peter Gelagotis trained Malaguerra ($17) and the Gai Waterhouse trained English ($13) and you’ve got a tantalising clash worthy to set the stage for one of racing’s most sacred days.