In the centenary year of the W.S. Cox Plate, Racing Victoria’s (RV) General Manager – Racing Operations and International, Paul Bloodworth, believes it could be one of the best editions yet.
With nominations released on Tuesday afternoon, punters were excited to see last year’s first and second horses, State Of Rest and Anamoe, entered once again.
Joining that pair as part of the 135 nominees is Annabel Neasham’s Zaaki, who sits on top of betting at $5 with most online bookmakers, as well as four of his stablemates.
Top Ranked, Mo’unga, Laws Of Indices and Irish import Star Of India have all been entered from the Neasham yard as she looks to make up for lost time after Zaaki was sensationally scratched on race morning in 2021 when an odds-on favourite.
While it feels like Neasham has unfinished business in the Cox Plate, nobody would be wanting revenge more than James Cummings.
Cummings trains star horse Anamoe, who finished second last year and was denied promotion in the stewards’ room when Craig Williams fired in a protest against John Allen and State Of Rest.
Although Anamoe will be the headline act from Cummings’ stable, he has also nominated Alegron and multiple Group 1 winner Cascadian for the Moonee Valley feature.
“The release of nominations for the three biggest events in Victorian racing is always an exciting time of the year, as it starts the official countdown to the 2022 Spring Racing Carnival, which gets underway with Memsie Stakes Day at Caulfield at the end of this month,” Bloodworth said.
“If State Of Rest, Anamoe, Zaaki and Saeed bin Suroor’s Real World all make it to the 2040-metre starting line at The Valley on 22 October, it would be a very fitting way to celebrate the centenary year of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
“State Of Rest has since cemented his reputation as an elite athlete by taking his tally of Group 1 wins to four this year, whilst Anamoe and Zaaki both hold strong claims to be the best middle-distance horse in Australia.”
Cummings’ trio aren’t the only Godolphin runners entered, with Saeed Bin Suroor toying with the idea of sending Real World out to Australia, while Charlie Appleby nominated Nations Pride, who was a seven-length winner in the Listed Newmarket Stakes (2012m) on April 29.
Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr have nominated six runners for the Cox Plate, with four of those coming with some form of boom surrounding their names.
Unbeaten galloper Illation is nominated for ‘the greatest two minutes in sport’, but he is likely to run in the Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens seven days later.
I’m Thunderstruck, Ayrton and classy three-year-old Cadazio have also been nominated, with four-year-olds Daisies and Blue Army rounding out their sextet.
While Joseph O’Brien will be relying on State Of Rest if he is to go back-to-back in the 2040m feature, his father, Aidan O’Brien, has nominated three horses in his quest to win a second Cox Plate, eight years after Adelaide saluted in 2014.
Aidan O’Brien has entered Aikhal, Stone Age and Point Lonsdale for the race, with Stone Age the more fancied of that trio with online bookmakers.
In total, 135 horses have been nominated for the Cox Plate, with 12 of those being internationals – up from just four in 2021.