It looks a vintage Cox Plate the 2015 edition, and while it’s always a good race the appearance of three Gr1 class European raiders in the final field of 14 adds a huge amount of excitement and anticipation to ‘Australasia’s WFA Championship’, that’s fast becoming the ‘WFA Championship of the World’. It’s never easy backing the winner and this year it looks particularly hard, but we’ll do our best as always to help you find the winner of the race and walk away from the day with the cash in your pocket.


2015 Cox Plate In-Depth Preview

To compare the local form for the Cox Plate it’s important to go back through the last 3 or 4 runs this Spring and line up the horses when / if they met each other.

5 of the 11 local runners come here via the 2000m Gr1 Caulfield Stakes that was run at this track on the 10/10/15. Those 5 are: Criterion, Happy Trails, Pornichet, Kermadec & Fawkner. They finished relatively to each other as follows;

1st [+0.5L] Criterion (59) 13-2
2nd [-0.5L] Happy Trails (59) 15-1
4th [-1.4L] Kermadec (58) 5-2
6th [-6.2L] Fawkner (59) 13-4
8th [-8.7L] Pornichet (59) 11-2

(3rd in the race, very interesting to note, was dominant Caulfield Cup winner from last Saturday Mongolian Khan. The obviously stamps this form as very good, and immediately demands that you pay very close attention to the runs around him in the race)

Here’s a snap-shot of how the race developed from the 600m to the top of the straight to the finish post.


Caulfield Stakes @ 600m mark


Caulfield Stakes straightening


Caulfield Stakes finish

Criterion came from 2nd last at the 600m, circled the field and was a fair bit too strong for them. His run was the race best, although only narrowly because Kermadec was also very good. Criterion clocked the fastest last 800m, 600m & 400m times in the event. His last 200m was the 2nd fastest behind Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan only.

His sectionals read;

600m / 400m / 200m

Kermadec was last at the 600m and buried away over on the rails with no where to go. He ended up switching to the outside and once clear he ran home very well. His 600/400/200m splits were 2nd fastest, 2nd fastest, 3rd fastest in the race. Criterion went fractionally quicker over 600 & 400 while as mentioned Mongolian Khan ran the fastest last 200m. His sectionals read;

600m / 400m / 200m

Happy Trails was out dashed on cornering when Criterion wen straight past him, but as he always does he rallied back well and never shirked the task to finish 2nd. It was a pleasing run.

Fawkner put in an absolute shocker which is very unlike him, usually representing a model of consistency. He was vetted post race & stewards quizzed connections over the run but no light was shed as to why he dropped out so sharply by his standards. Definitely not a good lead up run for a Cox Plate!

Pornichet just didn’t measure up to the grade, he over raced  a bit which he often tends to do & also shod a plate, but was beaten too far. I’ve been against the horse all prep and that was enough to convince me he will not become the first horse ever to complete the rarified Toowoomba Cup / Cox Plate double!!

Hartnell & Preferment arrive at the Valley coming through the Turnbull Stakes over 2000m at Gr1 at Flemington.

1.CRITERION – (7) – $6.50 & $2.30 (out from $5.50)

Globe trotting entire who has proven himself one of the true current superstars of the Australian turf. 7th in this race last year but was safely held at all times but the leading division and never raised a winning hope for backers. It has to be said he’s going better this year than he was then though.

Since last year’s race he’s won the $4million QE Stakes at Royal Randwick during The Championships, ten embared on a 3 run overseas adventure- 1 run in HK when 3rd in the Gr1 QEII Cup over 2000m, then 2 runs in England when 5th in the Gr1 Prince of Wales & 6th in the Gr1 Juddmonte International. He was 5.6L off the winner, Golden Horn was a narrow 2nd so Criterion was 5.5L off him. I say this because Highland Reel was 4L off champion 3yo Golden Horn last start, so on that alone the lean is toward Highland Reel over Criterion. That said Criterion is in great order after returning home and storming to victory in the Caulfield Stakes, which has already thrown up the Caulfield Cup winner.

Sure to run well, he’s bombproof at the moment.

2.FAWKNER – (14) – $13.00 & $4.00 (solid)

Resumed his old self first up in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington over the mile, winning another group 1, his 3rd.

Didn’t quiet show customary dash 2nd up in the Gr1 Underwood but still whacked away to eventually finish a nose 2nd in a driving 3 way go. He was somewhat below his best but it was a totally forgivable below best type of run…

Last start in the Caulfield Stakes though it was alarm bells ringing. He travelled in a lovely spot on what was a soft tempo, but he went like a pricked balloon down the running dropping right out in a fashion we’ve never before seen from this super honest grey. He was vetted, and they revealed no abnormalities. It was enough to put me right off him. Only on pure trust could I back him after what he did that day.

Take on trust only. Don’t be surprised if he turns things around sharply though.

3.HAPPY TRAILS – (13) – $17 & $4.80 (out from $13)

Veteran Adelaide horse Happy Trails breathed life into an ordinary campaign with a second-place result behind Criterion in the Caulfield Stakes, trumping Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan, but will have to overcome a wide barrier (13) if it’s to figure in the finish at Moonee Valley. A win would surprise but not totally shock me as you always know he’ll run well and give his all.

Sure to run his honest race, maybe that might just be good enough if he gets the luck.

4.HARTNELL – (3) –$17 & $4.80 (out from $13)

Sydney gelding Hartnell left his run too late in the Turnbull Stakes, rocketing home from 15th with 400m to go to finish sixth, less than two lengths behind winner Preferment. This time Hartnell will enjoy a more favourable barrier (3), though will concede an extra half a kilogram to Preferment.

Showed in the Autumn when blitzing all comers in the BMW Gr1 2400m at WFA that he’s got the class to win Gr1 WFA races. I just wonder if now the 2040m might be too short? In any case he’s sure to be attacking the line. With The Cleaner here setting the pace, he’s sure to get it run to suit his run-on pattern.

Can win.

5.MOURINHO – (12) – $26.00 $ $7.00 (solid)

The Underwood was the latest chapter in Mourinho’s love affair with Caulfield and the eight-year-old bay gelding has also won five times at Moonee Valley, though he finished four lengths sixth in the Dato Tan Chin Nam.

Wouldn’t it be great to see the Gelogatis boys train the winner of the Cox Plate! There’d be free fish & chips in Moe for a year!

6.THE CLEANER – (2) – $21 & $5.50 (solid)

Cult horse The Cleaner, the ‘Longford Lion’, rarely runs a bad race and has again figured prominently this Spring, finishing third behind Mourinho and Fawkner in the Underwood Stakes after winning the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes in early September. We know what we’ll get from him, he’ll roll forward and set a hot tempo and try to keep running.

Wouldn’t the crowd tear the roof off Moonee Valley if The Cleaner could clean up his more fancied rivals!

7.PORNICHET – (11) – $26.00 & $7.00 (solid)

Gai Waterhouse’s lone runner and Doomben Cup winner Pornichet (remains in the Cox Plate frame but with a significant question mark after finishing last, more than eight lengths behind Criterion, in the Caulfield Stakes. But his run behind Kermadec and Royal Descent in the Group 1 George Main Stakes at Randwick proved that when things go his way he can mix it with the heavy hitters.

You could back him because the hall of fame legend Gai Waterhouse prepares but you couldn’t if your purely assessing him on last run.

8.AROD – (5) – $9.00 & $3.00 (solid)

(For an in-depth look at every run in Arod’s career + detailed form analysis + replay’s of his runs go to;

I’ve been swept away watching his latest replay when a narrow 2nd in the Sussex Stakes behind world super-star Solow. He pushed Solow more than any horse has in this winning run of 6 races (5xGr1) that he’s on. He almost looked as though he was going to beat him for a stride but Solow, the champion that he is, dug the deepest. He’s 2/2 at the trip that’s no concern, and very importantly will make his own luck probably tucking in for cover behind mad leader The Cleaner. If he runs up to that Sussex effort boy I think he’ll take plenty of beating here. A great wager at $9, on an each way basis.

9.COMPLACENT- (6) – $21.00 & $5.50 (solid)

Complacent has done little wrong this campaign for the powerful Godolphin stable, hitting the front a long way from home in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes and withstanding a charge from Cox Plate fancy Kermadec.

The John O’Shea-trained five-year-old also ran third in the Hill Stakes, a length behind winner Preferment, and then beat stablemate Hauraki in the Group 3 Craven Plate.

He’s only a very lightly raced 4 year old, so his form is very much still on the upward spiral. With the necessary improvement, he could quiet easily figure.

10.GAILO CHOP – (8) – $21.00 & $5.50 (out from $17)

(For an in-depth look at every run in Gailo Chop’s career + detailed form analysis + replay’s of his runs go to;

Very honest and has won numerous group races but doesn’t seem right up to the very best level. He’d some chance in the Cox Plate but it would be quiet a surprise as I’m leaning towards the other 2 overseas horses as the main international chances.

Place hope.

11.KERMADEC – (10) – $7.50 & $2.60 (solid)

Kermadec wasn’t quite good enough to chase down Criterion and Happy Trails in his first run over 2000m in the Caulfield Stakes, though jockey Glen Boss was buoyed by the performance and said he was confident the four-year-old would be right in the mix at Moonee Valley. His run last start in the Caulfield Stakes was terrific and he gives the sense he won’t have an issue with the 2040m.

Great chance of giving Waller his first ‘major’.

12.PREFERMENT – (9) – $13.00 & $4.00 (solid)

Preferment rounds out Waller’s three Cox Plate contenders and is unbeaten over 2000m, including his last two starts in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and Group 2 Hill Stakes at Randwick. Nash Rawiller is set to pilot the four-year-old after regular mount Blake Shinn was suspended for eight meetings for careless riding at Seymour on Sunday. That’s no big loss as Nash is a big time rider. 

There’s no telling just how good this horse may be. He looked nothing but at genuine stayer at 3, but now as a newly 4yo he’s showed dash like I never thought possible for the horse. He’s a chance on class alone although I really get the distinct impression having followed him throughout his career that he’ll be better off over 3200m in the Melbourne Cup.

We know he’s good. If he wins this he’s a champion, because I don’t see how they’d deny him in the Melbourne Cup if he’s too classy here!

13.HIGHLAND REEL – (4) – $5.00 & $2.00 (solid)

(For an in-depth look at every run in Highland Reel’s career + detailed form analysis + replay’s of his runs go to;

Last start was a career highlight running world champion horse Golden Horn to 4L in the Irish Champion Stakes. Is that good enough to win a Cox Plate? It definitely could be he’s impossible to dismiss as having no chance. Will be in the front half of the field & has plenty of similarities to last year’s winner & former stablemate Adelaide.

He’s a terrific chance.

14.WINX – (1) – $7.00 & $2.50 (solid)

Unbeaten at her last four starts, including a pair of Group 1s, Sydney mare Winx will have the added advantage of carrying the bottom weight of 55.5kg. The Chris Waller-trained four-year-old mare copped bad interference around the home turn in the Epsom Handicap at Randwick on October 3 but was still far too good, saluting by more than two lengths. At her last preparation Winx brained them in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Doomben, unleashing her trademark turn of speed to launch from eighth at the 400m and win by 3.5 lengths.

She’s a terrific chance.



  1. #8-AROD
  3. #11-KERMADEC
  4. #12 PREFERMENT 


#8-AROD each-way @ $9.00 & $3.00


Box the top 5 picks. Historically despite what many think this race often carries the largest F4 & Trifecta divi out of the Spring ‘big 3’.