Western Australia’s glamour mare Arcadia Queen has been elevated to favouritism after drawing favourably in Saturday’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Trained by Grant and Alana Williams, Arcadia Queen replaced Russian Camelot at the head of TAB betting after drawing barrier 8. The Pierro mare has tightened to $4.60
Russian Camelot, who ran second to Arcadia Queen at their last meeting in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) a fortnight back, has eased to $4.80 with an outside gate (14)
Irish galloper Armory and Probabeel are $5.50 and $9.50 respectively. The former is set to begin from gate six and the latter from barrier 2.
Champion jockey William Pike says Arcadia Queen’s favourable starting position will allow him multiple options in the Cox Plate.
“Ideally midfield would be nice,” Pike told Tabradio.
“If the speed is there then midfield is fine, but I will have no preconceived plans.
“As long as she is happy then I’ll be happy.”
Pike is certain Arcadia Queen will be at her top for the Cox Plate. His confidence given an added boost after she produced a strong gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday.
“She felt a million dollars like she always does,” Pike said.
“She had me strung out and I had to really hold on that’s for sure.
“It was very much like her gallop before she won her last race.
“She feels enormous every time I ride her and there was no exception today.
“She felt good and fluent and we got to go on the Moonee Valley track.
“She got around the bend no worries and I came out of that pretty happy.”
The final field of 14 runners won’t include Buckhurst. The five-year-old, trained by Joseph O’Brien and owned by Lloyd Williams has been relegated to first emergency by the MVRC Committee.
Pike said he was delighted be part of the 100th edition of the Cox Plate.
“It’s enjoying to see a list of great horses,” Pike said.
“You struggle to find a horse that couldn’t win the race under the right circumstances.
“Every horse deserves their position in the race.
“That’s why I like this race so much.
“Hopefully, I like it a lot better after the weekend.”
Arcadia Queen bounced back to defeat Russian Camelot after running third to him in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on a soft 6 track rating.
Pike said the threat of a rain-affected track in the Cox Plate won’t be offered as an excuse for defeat.
“I don’t think it was entirely the ground when she got beaten,” Pike said.
“I don’t like using a soft ground as an excuse, everyone else has to run in it as well.
“I don’t think we were quite good on the day.
“That’s all there was too it.”