With eight runners competing for second in this year’s Cox Plate, there is no doubt that many punters are currently experiencing an awkward feeling of guilt as they consider not placing a bet in the weight-for-age classic this year. It's a tough pill to swallow and feels so wrong. Watching the Cox Plate without a bet is like being at a party without a drink, having no ticket at the concert gate or no key to your house with a hot date on your arm. Can't happen.
So it's been our mission to rescue punters from obscurity this week. To help resist passing on the big race, we've reviewed the place chances of the the other eight runners who make-up the smallest Cox Plate field since 2003.
1. Happy Clapper $2.70 fixed place odds
Pros: Second to Winx earlier this prep by 1.3L in the Group 1 George Main and third in the Queen Elizabeth over 2000m in 2016.
Cons: Zero from two anti-clockwise. Lost to Winx by 11L in last year's Cox Plate. Five starts at the distance for only two placings and went down as the $1.50 favourite last start.
Our say: Won’t run a place. Probably fifth or sixth.
2. Galio Chop - $2.25 fixed place odds
Pros: 9 starts for 6 wins at this distance including his last start victory in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes and the MacKinnon back in 2015.
Cons: was beaten by Winx in the Cox Plate by 12.5L two years ago.
Our say: Second - weight-for-age winner in his previous preparation and is expected to peak on Saturday.
3. Humidor - $2.25 fixed place odds
Pro: Has never missed a place over 2000m, including the Group 1 Australian Cup against Jameka in March this year and was gallant in defeat in the Caulfield Cup after carrying top weight and being pressed at the 600m, still managing to hang onto fifth place.
Cons: May still have wind burn from two starts back from when Winx left him for dead on the turn in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes
Our say: Third - wasn’t suited when he faced Winx last time. Will sit closer on Saturday and won’t give in without a fight.
4. Kaspersky - $8.50 fixed place odds
Pro: Second from his only start at 2000m. Has Michelle Payne riding who’s known to produce miracles.
Cons: Has only a third to his name from five starts in Group 1 races and hasn't raced at this distance since 2014.
Our say: Last. Surprised if he’s in the straight when Winx passes the winning post.
5. Folkswood - $2.30 fixed place odds
Pro: Won the Cranbourne Cup last start over 2025m after a sustained run from the 800m mark. Has never missed a place at this distance, and unlike some foreign horses, most of his races have been on dry tracks.
Cons: Only beat the likes of Berisha and Grey Lion last start who would need a 100m head start to compete with Winx.
Our say: Fourth. If he can pinch a lead and stay with them around the bend he should be in the mix.
6. Seaburge - $8.50 fixed place odds
Pro: Has a group one placing over 2000m in last year's Emirates Stakes and finished off well five starts back in the Group 1 Toorak after being 15th on the turn.
Cons: Has only one victory from 13 starts in group races, and last started at this distance back in March losing by 38L to Gingernuts in the Rosehill Guineas.
Our say: Expect to finish in the bottom half of the field. Ran home last start but no match for these.
7. Hardham - $14 fixed place odds
Pro: Only horse besides Winx to win at the track which was at this distance too.
Cons: Beaten as the $1.50 favourite to Wheal Leisure two starts back over 2000m in a listed race.
Our say: Will only beat Kapersky home. Tried hard last week in the Caulfield Cup but wasn’t enough to warrant selection here.
8. Winx the winner
9. Royal Symphony - $2.05 fixed place odds
Pro: Only carrying 49.5kgs, ran on strongly to just miss a place in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas last start and comes up against the smallest field he’s had to contend with in his career to date.
Cons: Hasn’t been able to beat his own age at his last two starts and having his first go at the 2000m.
Our say: Midfield. If Yendall can keep him with the field 600m out, he might end up putting in a decent run home with nothing on his back.