Cox Plate Nominations for 2018 Include 26 Overseas Horses

By our math, the 135 horses nominated for the 2018 Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley have added $297,000 to the pot.

First acceptances do not close until 11 September, so the above figure may grow.

Fifteen on the list are from the stables of Chris Waller, so that operation alone has shelled out $33,000 for reasons that are beyond our abilities to comprehend.

For those of us who appreciate a good coincidence, for the moment, Chris Waller has the final three nominations in Winx, Youngstar and Zousain.

The 2018 edition of the Cox Plate has attracted 26 horses from overseas, raising the question of how foreign horses are handicapped.

Yes, the Cox Plate is run in Victoria, but Racing NSW chief handicapper Damien Hay tried to shed some light on the topic, although we have to admit that after reading what he had to say, we are tempted to say that what Hay shed was not light, at least, not to us.

“We’ve got a large database now as a result of many imports coming out to race here,” Hay said.“We look at their international rating, especially the Racing Post with UK horses, and their overall records but we can’t handicap them on potential.”

In that instance, hay was referring to French import Avilius, who rolled a benchmark 91 field while carrying a BM 88 rating. The potential to which he was referring was that Avilius ran like a Group 1 horse at Randwick, but came within 3-1/2 lengths of the world’s third highest rated horse, Cracksman, in one of Avilius’ seven starts in Europe.

On the generous rating given to Avilius, Hay said, “At the end of the day he had only won a maiden and a three-year-old open. Yes, he had run second to Cracksman, beaten three and a half lengths, but we thought the 88 was consistent with our system.”

Avilius is ninth on the alphabetical list of Cox Plate acceptances, so no help for punters there.

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