Hemispheres set to collide in the 99th Ladbrokes Cox Plate

This year’s Investec Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck and Royal Ascot winner Circus Maximus are amongst the European horses aiming to inherit Winx’s crown after the star-studded nominations were announced today for the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate, one of Australia’s marquee races.
The 99th edition of the Cox Plate appears set for a fascinating clash between the southern and northern hemispheres, with a total of 27 overseas raiders – from four different countries and 12 stables – in contention to tackle the finest thoroughbreds from across Australasia.
Should Anthony Van Dyck make the trip to Melbourne to compete at Moonee Valley on Saturday, 26 October, the three-year-old would become the first winner of Britain’s richest race to run in Australia’s weight-for-age championship.
His trainer Aidan O’Brien has nominated a total of 11 horses, including tough St James’s Palace Stakes victor Circus Maximusandhis fellow Group 1 winners Japan and Hermosa, as he bids to secure a second Cox Plate having tasted success with Adelaide in 2014 – since when the recently-retired Winx has dominated the race.
“To win a Cox Plate, you need a horse with plenty of tactical speed that gets a mile and a quarter well,” said O’Brien.
“We have entered 11 horses that we think might suit the race, but of course some of them don’t always progress as well as we were hoping. But Anthony Van Dyck and Circus Maximus are two very hardy colts with good tactical speed, and both should handle nice ground.
“It’s probably too early at this stage to say who our number one seed is, we usually nominate a number of horses and then we will see how they progress from now.”
O’Brien’s son Joseph, who trained Rekindling to Lexus Melbourne Cup glory two years ago, has also entered four horses with three of them – LatrobeMaster of Reality and Buckhurst – owned by Australian Racing Hall of Famer, Lloyd Williams.
O’Brien’s fourth nominee is Iridessa, an emphatic winner of the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in June.
Progressive four-year-old Communique, who extended his impressive record at Newmarket with victory in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes during the July Festival, has also been entered for the Cox Plate by his trainer Mark Johnston.
Recent Group 1 winner Danceteria, owned by Australian Bloodstock and trained by Frenchman David Menuisier, has accepted The Valley’s international invitation to contest the Cox Plate; whilst Saeed bin Suroor, who is hoping to go one better this year after Benbatl finished runner-up behind Winx in 2018, has entered Dream Castle and Mountain Hunter.
Other notable overseas entrants include high-class Japanese horses Lys Gracieux (trained by Yoshito Yahagi) and Kluger, the Tomokazu Takano-trained stayer who has accepted The Valley’s invitation. Kluger chased home Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney earlier this year, whilst Lys Gracieux also earned a Cox Plate invitation after winning the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen under Australian jockey Damian Lane in June.
The Australasian brigade includes magnificent mare Mystic Journey, Godolphin galloper Aviliusand Kiwi import Verry Elleegant, who perhaps represents trainer Chris Waller’s best hope of securing a fifth straight win in the AU$5 million (approximately £2.78 million) showpiece.
Mystic Journey, trained in Tasmania by former jumps jockey Adam Trinder, is currently the bookmakers’ favourite for the Cox Plate after registering six straight wins including the inaugural All-Star Mile, Group 1 Australian Guineas and Group 2 Fillies Classic on Cox Plate Day last year.
Anthony Van Dyck (photo by  Steve Cargill)
The full list of international entrants for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate is as follows:
Anthony Van Dyck
Aidan O’Brien
Hunting Horn
Aidan O’Brien
Magic Wand
Aidan O’Brien
Cape of Good Hope
Aidan O’Brien
Circus Maximus
Aidan O’Brien
Mohawk
Aidan O’Brien
Fleeting
Aidan O’Brien
I Can Fly
Aidan O’Brien
Japan
Aidan O’Brien
Hermosa
Aidan O’Brien
Just Wonderful
Aidan O’Brien
Pivoine
Andrew Balding
Danceteria
David Menuisier
Chief Ironside
David Menuisier
San Huberto
Fabrice Chappet
Twilight Payment
Jim Bolger
Latrobe
Joseph O’Brien
Master of Reality
Joseph O’Brien
Buckhurst
Joseph O’Brien
Iridessa
Joseph O’Brien
Communique
Mark Johnston
Suzuka Devious
Mitsuru Hashida
Dream Castle
Saeed bin Suroor
Mountain Hunter
Saeed bin Suroor
Meiner Fanrong
Takahisa Tezuka
Kluger
Tomokazu Takano
Lys Gracieux
Yoshito Yahagi
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