Coronavirus will ensure a new chapter is added to the historic Cox Plate in Australia this month with the famous race to be staged behind closed doors.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, racing has been played out behind closed doors around the world in 2020. Some questioned whether the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup Carnivals would even go ahead this year.
Yet, after major global events like the Kentucky Derby and Royal Ascot were staged in front of empty stands so successfully, Australian racing has followed the same guidelines and managed to stage all of their major meetings.
Sadly, this means no spectators will be allowed into Moonee Valley to watch Russian Camelot’s bid to win his third Group One of 2020. Danny O’Brien is hoping his stable star can land the Cox Plate, Melbourne Cup double – an achievement which would ensure his colt fetched a huge fee when he’s eventually retired to stud.
The break-out star in Australian racing this season has been Russian Camelot. O’Brien’s colt was well-backed heading into the Australian Derby back in May, and lit up Morphettville with an excellent performance, powering clear to win by just over two lengths.
Having gone down narrowly to and experienced six-year-old in Fierce Impact in the Makybe Diva Stakes, Russian Camelot got back on track with a smart victory in the Underwood Stakes. Jockey, Damien Oliver never looked troubled at Caulfield, angling out as the field turned for home, before stretching away from classy rivals like Humidor and Gailo Chop.
Russian Camelot heads the market for the 2020 Cox Plate, sitting a long way clear of his closest rival. Sitting second and third in the betting, we find two of Aidan O’Brien’s stars, who’ve made the trip over from Ireland to try and take down the home favorite.
Sir Dragonet topped the betting for the Epsom Derby last season, before finishing a staying-on fifth behind Anthony Van Dyck. Although he hasn’t lived up to that lofty reputation this term, he remains a very capable rival. As does three-year-old colt Armory, who was last seen finishing behind Aidan O’Brien’s fantastic mare, Magical in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Another raider for the likes of Russian Camelot to fear is Aspetar, who’ll represent British trainer Roger Charlton. Aspetar won a Group One out in Germany in 2019 and produced the finest performance of his career to win the York Stakes by almost two lengths on his most recent outing. Aspetar will give Russian Camelot something to think about, if he takes his chance in the Cox Plate on October 24th.