Punt Drunk: Cox Plate drama sums up horror weekend for punters

Man commiserates over Cox Plate Day 2021

We never thought we’d say this, but thank God it’s Monday. We know we aren’t alone when we say it was an absolute bloodbath for punters over the weekend, with the scratching of Zaaki from the Cox Plate on Saturday a warning of what was to come. We recap the drama from Cox Plate Day, examine Daniel Moor’s historic win in the Manikato Stakes and highlight just how good the form out of the Seymour Cup really is.

Cox Plate Day drama

Where do we start here? The entire week was dramatic in the build-up to the 101st running of the W.S. Cox Plate. On Tuesday, Japanese galloper Keiai Nautique was left out of the field at the discretion of the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee; Thursday morning saw two of the three international runners, Callsign Mav and Gold Trip, found to be lame by Racing Victoria vets; on Friday morning, Gold Trip was scratched from the race, much to the chagrin of trainers Ciaron Maher & David Eustace and jockey Damien Oliver; and on Saturday, well, the less said the better.

Given Zaaki had been the favourite for the Cox Plate for months – a dominant one at that – millions of futures bets and multis must have been torn up at about 8am on Saturday morning as Annabel Neasham broke the news that her star galloper had been withdrawn from the race due to an elevated temperature. The scratching meant that a field of just eight horses would take their place in the weight-for-age classic. (There was probably room for Keiai Nautique…)

After all the drama in the build up to the race, 5pm rolled around and it was finally time for the jump. If Racing Victoria were concerned that Peter V’landys had taken the gloss off Cox Plate Day with his new race, The Invitation, we are sure they would have slept well on Saturday night, knowing that the majority of Aussie punters were fixated on the stewards’ room at Moonee Valley. Irish import State Of Rest was first past the post under John Allen, but a decent brush in the concluding stages forced second-placed jockey Craig Williams, who was aboard Anamoe, to fire in a protest shortly after returning to scale. After a lengthy wait, the protest was dismissed and the Cox Plate returned to Ireland, but we are tipping we will be talking about the result for some time still.

Queensland claims Manikato Stakes

There was plenty of speculation that this year’s Manikato Stakes field was not worthy of Group 1 status, and it probably wasn’t, but there will be no doubt in Queensland trainer Tony Gollan’s mind that his six-year-old Jonker was a worthy winner. After jumping cleanly and going straight to the front under Daniel Moor, the dual Group 1-placed sprinter was too slick for his rivals over 1200m.

Six weeks ago, Moor had not won an Australian Group 1 race. His first came aboard Sierra Sue in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on September 18, before adding another just six days later aboard Wild Ruler in the Moir Stakes. ‘Buckets’, as he is known, now has a third, as he completed the Moir-Manikato double, a record that has not been achieved for some time. The year 1982 was the last time a jockey won both sprinting features at Moonee Valley in the same season, with Gary Willetts doing so aboard the namesake of last Friday night’s Group 1, Manikato.

How bloody good is Seymour Cup form!?

This deep into the Spring Carnival, we would expect to see form out of the Caulfield Cup, Epsom Handicap or Turnbull Stakes stacking up, but instead, the Seymour Cup is outshining them. A humble Listed race that was this year run at Ballarat over the mile has already produced three subsequent winners, including a Group 2 winner at The Valley on Cox Plate Day.

Just Folk stormed down the middle of the track to win the Group 2 Crystal Mile, defeating a previous Group 1 winner in Begood Toya Mother and odds-on favourite Elephant. Just Folk’s victory added to Wicklow Town’s victory in Friday night’s VOBIS Gold Star at Moonee Valley, while Milton Park went on to win the Listed Sale Cup on Sunday after placing third in the Seymour Cup a fortnight earlier.

The winner of the Seymour Cup, Mr Brightside, has won six-straight races since coming to Australia, and although he has not raced since that win on October 10, he is the $5 favourite for Saturday’s Group 1 Cantala Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day. Take a look at the full results from the Seymour Cup and how those horses performed at their next start:

1st – Mr Brightside (yet to race)
2nd – Wicklow Town (won, VOBIS Gold Star)
3rd – Milton Park (won, Sale Cup)
4th – Harbour Views (yet to race)
5th – Just Folk (won, G2 Crystal Mile)
6th – Skyman (second, Open Handicap)
7th – Winning Partner (second, VOBIS Gold Star)
8th – Mystery Shot (yet to race)
9th – Gold Fields (yet to race)
10th – Mongolian Marshal yet to race)
11th – Ballet Master (fourth, Benchmark 78)

Monday racing tips – October 25, 2021

Punt Drunk

About Punt Drunk

Welcome to Punt Drunk! Our new daily column covering all the latest horse racing and punting controversies, dramas and headline news. Have a story or gripe or issue that just grinds your gears? Just hit us up in the comments or contact us page and our jaded, punt hardened Punt Drunk staff will give it the Punt Drunk treatment it deserves. Don’t expect pleasantries or typical racing media fanboy gloss from Punt Drunk – we’re on the punt and we don’t have time to bullshit; the next is about to jump…

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