This year’s Investec Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck is among 11 Aidan O’Brien-trained inmates among the European horses aiming to inherit Winx’s crown after the star-studded nominations were announced for the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate, one of Australia’s top races.
The 99th edition of the Cox Plate looks set for a fascinating clash between the southern and northern hemispheres, with a total of 27 overseas raiders – from four different countries and 12 stables – in contention to tackle the finest thoroughbreds from across Australasia. Betting on the horses is still big business and most bookmaker are happy to give punters a welcome bonus when they join up. One of the most popular bookies, Ladbrokes offer some of the best horse racing wagering around. Lots of punters will sign up and use a Ladbrokes Bonus Code when having a bet.
Should Anthony Van Dyck make the trip to Melbourne to compete at Moonee Valley on Saturday, 26th October, the three-year-old would become the first winner of Britain’s richest race to run in Australia’s weight-for-age championship.
His trainer Aidan O’Brien has nominated a total of 11 horses, including tough St James’s Palace Stakes victor Circus Maximus and his fellow Group 1 winners Japan and Hermosa, as he bids to secure a second Cox Plate having tasted success with Adelaide in 2014.
“To win a Cox Plate, you need a horse with plenty of tactical speed that gets a mile and a quarter well,” said O’Brien.
“We have entered 11 horses that we think might suit the race, but of course some of them don’t always progress as well as we were hoping. But Anthony Van Dyck and Circus Maximus are two very hardy colts with good tactical speed, and both should handle nice ground. It’s probably too early at this stage to say who our number one seed is, we usually nominate a number of horses and then we will see how they progress from now.”
O’Brien’s son Joseph, who trained Rekindling to Lexus Melbourne Cup success two years ago, has also entered four horses with Latrobe, Master Of Reality and Buckhurst owned by Australian Racing Hall of Famer, Lloyd Williams.
O’Brien’s other possible runner is Iridessa, an emphatic winner of the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh last June, while Ireland’s other nominee is the Jim Bolger-trained Twilight Payment.
Progressive four-year-old Communique, who extended his impressive record at Newmarket with victory in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes during the July Festival, has also been entered for the Cox Plate by his trainer Mark Johnston.
Recent Group 1 winner Danceteria, owned by Australian Bloodstock and trained by Frenchman David Menuisier, has accepted The Valley’s international invitation to contest the Cox Plate; while Saeed bin Suroor, who is hoping to go one better this year after Benbatl finished runner-up behind Winx in 2018, has entered Dream Castle and Mountain Hunter.
Other notable overseas entrants include high-class Japanese horses Lys Gracieux (trained by Yoshito Yahagi) and Kluger (Tomokazu Takano). Kluger chased home Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney this year, whilst Lys Gracieux also earned a Cox Plate invitation after winning the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen under Australian jockey Damian Lane in June.
The Australasian brigade includes magnificent mare Mystic Journey, Godolphin galloper Aviliusand Kiwi import Verry Elleegant, who perhaps represents trainer Chris Waller’s best hope of securing a fifth straight win in the AUD$5 million showpiece.
Mystic Journey, trained in Tasmania by former jumps jockey Adam Trinder, is currently the bookmakers’ favourite for the Cox Plate after registering wins in the inaugural All-Star Mile, Group 1 Australian Guineas and Group 2 Fillies Classic on Cox Plate Day last year.
The full list of international entrants for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate is as follows:
|Anthony Van Dyck||Aidan O’Brien|
|Hunting Horn||Aidan O’Brien|
|Magic Wand||Aidan O’Brien|
|Cape of Good Hope||Aidan O’Brien|
|Circus Maximus||Aidan O’Brien|
|I Can Fly||Aidan O’Brien|
|Just Wonderful||Aidan O’Brien|
|Chief Ironside||David Menuisier|
|San Huberto||Fabrice Chappet|
|Twilight Payment||Jim Bolger|
|Master of Reality||Joseph O’Brien|
|Suzuka Devious||Mitsuru Hashida|
|Dream Castle||Saeed bin Suroor|
|Mountain Hunter||Saeed bin Suroor|
|Meiner Fanrong||Takahisa Tezuka|
|Lys Gracieux||Yoshito Yahagi|