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Super Cool too sharp for Derby favourite

Super Cool has emerged as a definite Derby prospect after defeating the odds on favourite, It’s A Dundeel, in the Mitchelton Wines Vase at Moonee Valley.

The result was quite a surprise and puts a bit of vim into the classic which was looking a pretty dull affair, with many prepared to hand the race, on a plate, to the unbeaten New Zealand colt.

Murray Baker, trainer of It’s A Dundeel, was in two minds, if he would run or not, there was always a doubt about the tighter Moonee Valley track, while on the other hand, the colt had not raced for a month.

It came down to a flip of the coin decision, which in some respect dented the reputation of the colt, but the trainer was between a rock and a hard place.

Mark Kavanagh was impressed with the run of Super Cool, but not sure whether he will get the extra ground on the big Flemington track, that view was also shared by his jockey, Michael Rodd.

The same goes for It’s A Dundeel, he won the Champion Stakes at 2000 metres, he goes into the Derby having won six races, whereas Super Cool’s only win was at Seymour, his latest effort was encouraging in finishing second to Ava’s Delight at Caulfield.  

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Super Cool winning the Mitchelton Wines Vase



The farcical pace of the Geelong Cup did nothing for Exceptionally in her effort to qualify for a start in the Melbourne Cup.

With time running out, and options drying up, the last roll of the dice is the Lexus Stakes, on Derby Day, over 2500 metres.

Exceptionally needs to win the Lexus Stakes to be assured of a start in the Cup, she is currently 41 in order of entry, second declarations will be taken on Monday, at 10am, for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday week.

Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper, Greg Carpenter, has announced 1 kg  penalty for the Geelong Cup winner Gatewood, he will now carry 52.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, moving up from 41 to 36 in order of entry. 


Sportingbet Cox Plate

Since its inception, back in 1922, the Cox Plate has been acknowledged as the premier weight for age race.

The mere mention of the name conjures up thoughts of the greatest weight for age contest, the assembly of the very best horses from all corners of the Southern Hemisphere, and beyond.

 The inception of the event in 1922, which was five years after the inaugural Moonee Valley Racing committee, the race was originally named the W S Cox Plate after the founder of Moonee Valley, William Samuel Cox.

The stake was set at 1,000 pounds ($2,000), the imported Violoncello defeated a field of 13, during that time, known as the golden twenties, the fields were greatly reduced in that decade, with no more than a handful of runners contesting the race.

It could have easily become a non event, except for the champions of that era Manfred, Heroic and Amounis, they were all great horses that attracted people to racecourses.

The stake money remained the same when Phar Lap won in 1930; he won again the following year to become the first horse to win the race twice, returning home the poorer, the stake had been reduced to 650 pounds ($1,300) due to the depression which hit the world hard in the thirties.

 Whilst there was a steady rise in stake money after World War 11, it took a long time to reach a five digit figure, when Sir Dane won, ridden by Roy Higgins in 1964, the prize was $10,000..

For the first time the Moonee Valley Racing Club offered a six digit figure sum of $125,000 in 1975, the winner was Fury’s Order, after the race was run the remainder of the meeting was abandoned due to the state of the track.

History was made in 1946 when the race was divided, Flight won the first division, and Leonard the second, prize money for each division was 1,150 pounds, ($2.300) plus two gold cups, the next year it was returned to the original stake.

Harold Badger, who had won the race previously on Ajax, was out of luck in the two divisions, finishing second on Star Act and Monmouth, he later won on the three year olds, Chanak and Carbon Copy.    

Several horses have won the Cox Plate twice, Phar Lap the first, followed by Chatham, Young Idea, Beau Vite, Tranquil Star, Flight, Hydrogen, Tobin Bronze, Sunline, Northerly, Fields Of Omagh, So You Think, while Kingston Town won the coveted prize three times.

The late Tommy Smith holds the training record, having had 37 starters for seven wins, while Bart Cummings, 38 starters for 5 wins.

Darby Munro, widely acclaimed the best jockey we have seen in this part of the world, won the race 5 times; it could have been 6, except he was under suspension when Hydrogen won his second Cox Plate. 

The race now rivals the Prix De L’Arc Triomphe, with its stake of $3million, it has come a long way in those 90 years and is now  firmly implanted on the world stage.

 The Cox Plate can be likened to good wine, it just improves with time. 


Howmuchdoyouloveme - A class act

There is no doubting the ability of Howmuchdoyouloveme, he scorched over the 1100 metres of the Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint in  a breeze.

He is brilliant, first out of the gate, and never headed thereafter, the closest the opposition got to him was when they were pulling up.

His record has now been extended to five wins from six starts, and even at this early stage he looks an ideal prospect for the Oakleigh Plate early in the New Year.

Once betting opened he was the one punters wanted, some big bets were laid about him, there was no concern, he had the race to himself all the way, he was untroubled in winning.

The win was a big occasion for Rosehill trainer, Con Karakatsanis, who described the gelding as bomb proof; he hasn’t raced since winning the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton 10 weeks ago.

Depending how he pulls up, he could go on to Flemington for a 1200 metres race, down the straight six, during the carnival.

Howmuchdoyouloveme is by Written Tycoon,  at the time he was conceived the sire stood for a rather meagre fee at Eliza Park Victoria , he has since earned his stripes siring several winners and has since been located to Eliza Park Queensland, commanding a fee of $15,000.  

Howmuchdoyouloveme Custom





Dunaden Penalty 1KG

Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper, Greg Carpenter, has penalised Dunaden 1kg for winning the Caulfield Cup, taking his weight to 59kg for the Melbourne Cup.

The handicapper had no option but to issue the penalty, which is a fair one, he has taken many factors into consideration before reaching his decision.

Dunaden won the Caulfield Cup well with 58kg; it is fair to say he earned the extra 1kg, that shouldn’t make the difference between winning and losing.

I would say the handicapper has been kind to Dunaden, the horse is not overburdened by any means, and he is in the Melbourne Cup with a real live chance.

A win would elevate him into an elite bracket, the highest winning weight carried since Rain Lover’s second Cup win in 1969, carrying 60.5kg.


Race names need some attention

We recognise that race clubs will always be in need of sponsorship, it has become almost an essential as clubs strive to increase prize money and balance their budgets.

In return sponsors have the right to market their products through the naming of races, in the majority of instances it has worked quite well.

There doesn’t appear to be any problems with the city race clubs, the same cannot be said for some of the provincial clubs, they could be more discreet in the naming of races.

Cranbourne, on Thursday last, was a perfect example of poor naming of a race, Sheree, Will You Marry Me ?   This rxample does nothing to enhance the image of the racing industry; we can do without that sort of nonsense.  

Scratching Of Philippi

There is nothing amiss with Philippi, a late scratching from the Norman Robinson Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

The colt has gone to the paddock, he will complete a spell of  five weeks before he begins his preparation leading into the autumn, the prime target being the Australian Guineas.

Michael Kent never had any intention of running Philippi in the Derby; he is too smart for that, starting an immature three year old over 2500 metres on one preparation would have been too much for the colt.

Of what we have seen to date Philippi, by Host, is potentially the most promising three year old seen out this season, the autumn could be his oyster. 


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