There aren’t many of the world biggest prizes in racing that Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won, yet at the weekend he will go in search of one that he, as well as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere are yet to claim.
The Ballydolye handler has interestingly sent aptly-named three-year-old Adelaide Down Under to try and land the Cox Plate.
And he will certainly know what a winner of the race looks like, having taken charge of dual victor So You Think following his second triumph in 2010.
His representative at Moonee Valley, a 5/1 shot, has been an admirably consistent sort, yet to finish outside of the first three in his career to date, picking up Group race wins in both Ireland and the USA.
Ryan Moore’s mount will be getting his first look at the idiosyncratic track on race day itself, with the course described as ‘saucer-like’.
However he does look well prepared, having already landed the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington, an equally tight and tricky racetrack to navigate.
The form in the book on the son of Galileo’s record does look pretty strong; beaten just 1 1/2l in the Prix Niel when getting boxed in, and a beating of subsequent St Leger runner-up Snow Sky among the strongest on offer.
He will have to overcome a tricky draw, having been allocated stall 13, with just one other rival wider on the track, but should have enough early speed to overcome any trouble.
The fact that no northern raider has taken this race in its history says that it will be tough for Coolmore’s three-year-old to come out on top, but he will have an able pilot in Moore, who is in form when it comes to claiming international prizes, having landed the Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine aboard Hillstar at the weekend.
They will have to get the better of current market leader Fawkner (3/1) who has a plum draw in stall four, and comes here having claimed the Group 1 Caulfield Cup last season.
But if any foreign trainer can prime one to land a big prize, there are few more likely than Aidan O’Brien.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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