Spring Carnival Meeting at Moonee Valley Showcases Cox Plate

It is spring’s biggest weekend at Moonee Valley Racecourse, with eight races of Group 3 and above.

The official launch for the meeting will take place on Friday evening, when the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200 m) will set the tone for Saturday. The weight for age conditions of the sprint give some of the younger set a chance, but the final field has yet to be set. Chautauqua ($7), the 2015 winner, will try to add his name to the short list of two-time winners, but he will have to get past Vega Magic ($2.40) and In her Time ($6).

The following day, the Group 3 Inglis Mile (1600 m), the Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200 m) will warm up the spectators. Three Group 2s grace the card, those being the Moonee Valley Vas (2040 m), The Crystal Mile (1600 m) and the Moonee Valley Oaks (1600 m).

The highlight of the weekend of course, will be the Ladbrokes Cox Plate, where a certain Sydney mare will attempt a third consecutive victory. Online bookmaker Ladbrokes currently has her quoted at $1.16, with no other in single digits, with three listed at $17, including Folkswood, Gailo Chop and Happy Clapper.

Folkswood’s most recent outing saw him win the Listed Cranbourne Cup under the direction of Kerrin McEvoy carrying top-weight of 59 kg, but his best finish at Group quality was a second in the Jebel Hatta (1800 m), a Group 1 race in the UAE.

Gailo Chop won the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes in his last outing, so the seven-year-old veteran is in top form, although he has not done much since winning the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes two years ago.

Happy Clapper won the Epsom Handicap at Randwick on the last day of September, and then posted a second in the Group 3 Craven Plate to go along with a second in the Group 1 George Main Stakes and a win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes, so this seven-year-old would seem to be Winx’s primary adversary.

If any one of those three is to win, it will take the best race of their careers.

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