Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 14:36 21/10/2015
The Group 1 William Hill Cox Plate, Australia's premier weight-for-age race, was won 12 month's ago by the Aidan O'Brien-trained - Ryan Moore-ridden Adelaide who managed to overcome a high draw to claim the £1.5 million contest, a situation which the partnership will not have to face this Saturday in an effort to win back-to-back renewals courtesy of the three-year-old Highland Reel who, at the lavish barrier draw at Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning, was the second name out of the hat, with Coolmore's Tom Magnier electing for the colt to depart from stall four, causing bookmakers to shorten the son of Galileo into a best price 9-2 with the sponsor for the race run over 2040 metres.
The tight-turning track, similar in many ways to Chester, has a reputation for favouring those drawn low so Magnier expects a bold showing from the horse last seen when finishing fifth behind Golden Horn in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, saying: " There's nowhere in the world that has an atmosphere like this place and it takes a bit of getting used to, but I think this horse will take it in his stride. To have a horse in here with a chance is what we all dream of."
Peter Chapple-Hyam's Arod, a half length runner-up to Europe's leading miler Solow in Goodwood's Sussex Stakes on his most recent start last July, has also been fortunate on his first start outside of Britain, being the third horse to be picked out of the hat and set to race from stall five next door to the Ballydoyle contender and available to back at a standout 9-1 with William Hill. Other leading contenders are Criterion ( 6-1 Skybet ) who won the Caulfield Cup ten days ago, Winx ( 13-2 Skybet ) who will be attempting to land a five-timer and Kermadec who is a general 13-2 chance.