Mosheen’s start to her Spring campaign has been put on hold but trainer Robert Smerdon said that her Cox Plate preparation is still on course when nominations were released today.


Mosheen is still on target for the Cox Plate - photo © Taron Clarke

The classy mare was among the 155 entries for the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 and has emerged as one of the main fancies.

Smerdon was ready to kick off Mosheen’s Cox Plate preparation this weekend but he quickly changed his mind when the Racing Victoria handicapper allotted the mare topweight of 63kg in the  $100,000 Dean Millson & Brenda Nugent Handicap (1410m) at Flemington on Saturday.

“She won’t run with that weight,” Smerdon said.

“I guess you could call it a random entry. She will be entered in a number of places over the next couple of weeks and we will find something suitable for her in the near future.”

“She won a barrier trial well and she is ready to race.”

There is no doubt that Mosheen has earned that weight in a Saturday handicap and Smedon will have to find a smooth path to her Spring goal.

“The Cox Plate is the main aim. It’s top of the list,” Smerdon said.

The Fastnet Rock mare sprang into the spotlight with a nine length demolition of her opposition in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 3 after finishing second to the unbeaten Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.

Warwick Farm trainer Ron Leeman is another who hasn’t selected a starting point for his Cox Plate contender Manawanui.

Leeman decided against a barrier trial for Manawanui last Friday, electing to gallop the four year old on the course proper on Tuesday morning.

“I’ll give him some more work after Saturday and if I’m happy with him we’ll look for a trial,” Leemon said.

“It’s a step by step thing with him. The horse will tell me what to do.”

“The Cox Plate is the race we have always had in mind.”

The Mark Kavanagh trained Atlantic Jewel, undefeated from seven starts, has been posted the early $3.20 favourite for the Cox Plate ahead of the Gai Waterhouse trained More Joyous at $6.

Melbourne filly Mosheen is next in line at $8 in front of Pierro at $8.50 with Lucas Cranach an early $15 chance and Manawanui down the order at $26.

Atlantic Jewel’s class began apparent in the Spring last year when she trounced her rivals in the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield and followed that up with a seven lengths win in the Group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.

Kavanagh was forced to miss the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington five days later after the filly went amiss and was restricted to a limited Autumn campaign to give him time to prepare her for the Cox Plate in the Spring.

The Melbourne Cup winning trainer took Atlantic Jewel to Sydney where she easily accounted for her opposition in the Group 2 $175,000 Yellowglen Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 14 and the Group 1 $400,000 Ticketek All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 28.

“It’s her first test at weight for age, her first test against the boys and she’s had to work. She’s done it well, she knows how to win,” Kavanagh said after her All Aged stakes win.

“She’ll go to the paddock now and come back and head towards the spring,” he added.

Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell is keen to come up against early Cox Plate favourite Atlantic Jewel with his German import Lucas Cranach, saying that the unbeaten mare could be a risk at the tough 2040m around Moonee Valley.

“Don’t get me wrong, I would love to own her because she is a super horse,” Murrell said.

“But they are all getting carried away because she won over 2000m as a three-year-old, which has turned out to be pretty suspect form.”

“On the work that I’ve done, I would be doubting her terribly at the trip. She was amazing the day she beat Rain Affair, but even that run didn’t say ‘I’m looking for further’.”

Australian Bloodstock imported the German stayer to contest last year’s major Cups under the guidance of Anthony Freedman and five year old performed admirably and will be set on a Cox Plate course this Spring.

Gai Waterhouse will have a strong hand in the ‘weight for age championship’ with her super mare More Joyous and Golden Slipper winner Pierro heading up her stable nominations.

More Joyous took all before her in the Autumn elevating her Group 1 victories to eight and an overall win tally of nineteen.

The More Than Ready six year old rounded off her Autumn with three Group 1 wins, the $400,000 Inglis Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill, the $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) and the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) both at Randwick.

And Waterhouse’s two year old star Pierro went on to claim the two year old Triple Crown with Group 1 wins in the $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill, the $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and the $400,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) also at Randwick.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.