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The Cox Plate 2022 Power Rankings Edition 3 - Post Underwood Stakes

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

Welcome to the third set of Power Rankings for the Cox Plate, this one post the Underwood Stakes. I will say the picture of who are the contenders has became clearer but at the same time, splitting them is far harder.

10. I Wish I Win ($11)[Shortened]

Previous Ranking: Unranked

At 10 we have a horse that could be far better than this but at the same time I want to be conservative for three reasons. Firstly, he is coming from a low level hcp grade. Secondly, I cannot imagine he was originally being prepped for this race kicking off at 1400m and then second up at 1300m. Lastly, the Golden Eagle exists which will be a far easier race and over a more suitable trip for more money. For me, it does not make sense to go here but if he brains them in the Toorak, maybe they should and it appears they want to head this way.

Last Start: 1st in the LR Tesio Stakes

9. Mo'Unga ($15)[Shortened]

Previous Ranking: Unranked

At 9 we have Mo'Unga where it seems as if they will go against their original plan and step up to 2000 metres. Mo'Unga seems to be a horse that enjoys a slow tempo though so I question whether a 2000m race with a moderate tempo will be the right move for him. I will say his best runs since last season all came off slow tempos. The Winx Stakes was not fast where he won, his second to Incentivise was off a slow pace. His 3rd in the Makybe Diva this year was also slow and then this start so I question whether he can produce that turn of foot can be produced over 2000m.

Last Start: 2nd in the G1 Underwood Stakes

8. Mr Brightside ($15)[Drifted]

Previous Ranking: 2nd (-6)

d At 8 we have Mr Brightside, reverting to his original ranking. I do not believe I am being too harsh, he did not let down overly well in the Underwood Stakes I will need to see more next start to see if he can match the best at G1 WFA level. I will say this however, on a wet deck, I believe he is a far better horse as his two best results to day have came on a Soft 6 and a Heavy 9 so he will want some sting out of the ground. Have not lost hope but next start should give us more info.

Last Start: 5th in the G1 Underwood Stakes

7. Alligator Blood ($7)[Shortened]

Previous Ranking: Unranked

Alligator Blood comes in at 7th and at this point, I have to stop underrating him as he has been better each run this prep finally picking up a G1 WFA win and above the mile showing off his turn of foot off the slow tempo in the Underwood however, I am far from convinced that he can run a strong 2000m. His breeding suggests 1600m but All Too Hard did run second in this race. The Might & Power should be more telling but again, it looks to be a very similar field + Anamoe so maybe it will not be. This would be my personal favourite result though (just edging out I'm Thunderstruck or Mr Brightside)

Last Start: 1st in the G1 Underwood Stakes

6. My Oberon ($18)[Shortened]

Previous Ranking: 8th (+2)

My Oberon jumps two due to others disappointing or dropping out of the rankings. His form around the mile ties into Baaeed and while he is clearly below Baaeed, he still brings in reasonable form and should be considered. 2000m is of concern as he has not done it before but the breeding suggests it may not be an issue, at least less so then Alligator Blood which is why I have him at 6th.

Last Start: 2nd in the G2 Summer Mile Stakes

5. El Bodegon ($11)[Held]

Previous Ranking: 10th (+5)

El Bodegon receives a sizeable upgrade due to that Onesto race producing some strong form with Onesto himself running very well in Ireland and Eldar Eldarov winning the St Leger. Vadeni was also good in said race (I do not believe it is Arc form though) and I am not convinced he properly gets the 2400m.

Last Start: 3rd in the G2 Great Voltigeur Stakes

4. Gold Trip ($26)[Drifted]

Previous Ranking: 5th (+1)

Feel this horse is being overlooked again. He had a bunch of setbacks and was really solid in the Naturalism carrying serious weight in what was a race which I think will have surprisingly strong form where he was wide on the bend. He is a proven WFA performer overseas running 4th in the Arc on a bog and I have seen nothing so far as to why he should not be respected.

Last Start: 3rd in the G3 Naturalism Stakes

3. Zaaki ($6)[Drifted]

Previous Ranking: 4th (+1)

Zaaki comes into this at third. I will be forgiving the Underwood run. He loomed large on the turn but the sit and sprint does not suit, especially when trying to run down a horse who has had his best runs historically over 1400m. He was also struck in the head by the whip which could not have helped him. What I do not get is why did Zaaki not put more pressure on last start? He is not a sit and sprinter, he should roll and make them catch him or force Alligator to go faster.

Last Start: 2nd in the G1 Underwood Stakes

2. I'm Thunderstruck ($9)[Shortened]

Previous Ranking: 3rd (+1)

Was my number 1 seed after his Makybe Diva run but unfortunately, his Underwood run left me with more questions then answers. Firstly, his Makybe Diva run was one of the most impressive things I've seen running Alligator Blood down off the slow tempo and yes, they went slower in the Underwood but he was far closer and could only make up 3L or so on the straight, still impressive but Mo'Unga made more ground. I do not buy into the fact he cannot see out the trip as to me, that run looked far more like a mile and was a sit and sprint. The Might & Power Stakes will be more telling.

Last Start: 4th in the G1 Underwood Stakes

1. Anamoe ($2.80)[Shortened]

Previous Ranking: 1st (+0)

The Underwood Stakes only helped one horse in this ranking and that was Anamoe where if he gets over his injury, he will be hard to beat. He is far from unbeatable but with so many queries with ones behind him, he almost lands this by default, even if he was 3/5ths lame last run. The Might & Power Stakes will prove to be far more telling.

Last Start: 1st in the G1 George Main Stakes

I honestly believe that the Cox Plate is incredibly open and I do believe all these 10 horses have a strong chance in this race. I am confident this is the top 10 though, just the order I am not entirely set on, particularly 6 through to 10 on this list.

As for some others, Duais ($26) still appears to be heading to the Caulfield Cup. Aft Cabin ($18) was not nominated and they will need to pay a late entry fee which I am not sure they will as Godolphin already have Anamoe. Profondo ($34) is probably my 11th tip at this stage and Fangirl ($34)/Top Ranked ($18) would be 12th and 13th but not sure which way around. Which 3yo enters the race? They always like to have one but at this stage, is it Bank Maur, Sharp n Smart, Tijuana (all $51) or Political Debate ($201). Pinstriped and Maximal (Both $101) are considering this race but feel other options are smarter (Golden Eagle & Sydney 2000m races respectively).

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