Tag Archive for: Cox Plate

Joseph O’Brien thrilled by Cox Plate success

Joseph O’Brien admitted he wished he could have been at Moonee Valley to see State Of Rest secure a “huge” triumph in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate on Saturday.

In the face of strict veterinary rules for foreign raiders introduced for the first time this year, State Of Rest was the only European challenger to line up in Australia’s weight-for-age highlight over 10 furlongs.

Partnered by John Allen, State Of Rest was locked in battle with the Godolphin-owned Anamoe in the final furlong of the Group One heat and it appeared the Irish raider had leaned in and given a slight bump to the eventual short-head second.

Anamoe’s rider Craig Williams immediately lodged a protest, but the stewards ultimately opted to let the result stand, meaning O’Brien emulated his father Aidan, who won the Cox Plate with Adelaide in 2014.

The winning trainer was adding to his two Melbourne Cup triumphs with Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020) and he paid tribute to a team effort in successfully making the trip with the Teme Valley Racing-owned colt.

Speaking at Leopardstown, he said: “It was fantastic and I’m very proud of everyone, Mark Power and MJ Doran who are down in Australia with the horse and Mark Hackett in the office who organised the trip, transport and paperwork.

“I also have to thank the vets and everyone who organised all the veterinary side, which has been huge.

“It’s been a huge team effort and we were lucky to have keen owners with Richard Ryan, the manager (of Teme Valley), and Jim Cockburn. Johnny Allen also gave him a fantastic ride.

“He’s a very tough horse with a great constitution and that’s why we were willing to give it a go.

“It’s a very prestigious race, I wish I could be there to experience it, and it’s great prize-money. It’s a huge one really.”

Plans are fluid for State Of Rest now, with O’Brien adding: “He has an option in the Mackinnon (Stakes at Flemington on November 6) but we’ll just see how he pulls up.”

Winning rider Allen began his career in Ireland riding over jumps before moving to Australia and he felt the race had worked out “pretty well” for State Of Rest, who was last seen winning the Saratoga Derby in August.

The rider said: “When the gap appeared, I had to ask him to improve quickly before it closed and we might have got there a little too soon. But to his credit when that horse got to me, he really fought and was solid to the line.

“There was a bit of a bump there and I couldn’t celebrate. Thank God we got the win and it’s been a great job by Mark (Power) and the team.

“The way it was going, there were a few anxious moments, but I think the right decision was made.”

State Of Rest takes dramatic Cox Plate for Joseph O’Brien

Joseph O’Brien added another Australian prize to his collection as State Of Rest survived a stewards’ inquiry to claim the Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

The trainer has saddled two Melbourne Cup winners in Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020) and three-year-old State Of Rest became another notable international success for the team as he fought out a dramatic finish in the 10-furlong Group One.

Partnered by John Allen, State Of Rest was locked in battle with the Godolphin-owned Anamoe in the final furlong and it appeared the Irish raider had leaned in and given a slight bump to the eventual short-head second.

Anamoe’s rider Craig Williams immediately lodged a protest, but the stewards ultimately opted to let the result stand, meaning O’Brien emulated his father Aidan, who won the Cox Plate with Adelaide in 2014.

Mark Power, representing Joseph O’Brien, told www.racing.com: “It’s not good for the heart – I’m absolutely trembling like a leaf.

“Johnny Allen was super, he’s strong as an ox. You couldn’t have a better man on your side.

“Luckily we had Johnny. It’s a relatively new process for me and luckily we came out on the right side of it.”

Allen said the race had worked out “pretty well” for State Of Rest, who was last seen winning the Saratoga Derby in August.

The rider said: “When the gap appeared, I had to ask him to improve quickly before it closed and we might have got there a little too soon. But to his credit when that horse got to me, he really fought and was solid to the line.

“There was a bit of a bump there and I couldn’t celebrate. Thank God we got the win and it’s been a great job by Mark (Power) and the team.

“The way it was going, there were a few anxious moments, but I think the right decision was made.”

Williams was disappointed not to get the result overturned, but feels Anamoe has a big future ahead of him.

“It is our greatest Australian weight-for-age race that we have and Anamoe’s performance as a three-year-old was excellent, he was very game in defeat,” Williams said.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result on the track and because of contact by the winner (State Of Rest) we had good grounds to hopefully overturn the positions in the stewards’ room but we weren’t so fortunate. That’s racing and we move on.

“He is a serious racehorse and for a three-year-old to go so close, he’s a real Australian star in the making. Looking forward to his future starts and unfortunately we ran second today.”

Aspetar all set for long-haul odyssey

Roger Charlton believes Aspetar has the right constitution to handle a gruelling round-the-world trip as he seeks to strike gold in the 100th running of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

The gelded son of Al Kazeem, who is currently in quarantine in Newmarket, will bid to claim victory in the valuable Group One prize, won by Winx on four occasions between 2015 and 2018,  on October 24.

With only one plane of horses heading to Australia from Europe this year for the Melbourne Spring Carnival, it has resulted in extra stops being added to the usual route.

While this will be the longest journey Aspetar – last sighted winning the Group Two York Stakes in July – has faced racing abroad, Charlton feels his trip to Hong Kong at the end of last year will help him handle it.

Charlton said: “Aspetar is in quarantine in Newmarket until Wednesday week – then he has a long journey.

“From Stansted, they stop at Shannon to pick up the Irish horses (and) then go to the Middle East before going to Singapore and then on to Australia.

“It is a tough flight, and they are not allowed off the plane, so let’s hope he takes the travelling well.

“He travelled to Hong Kong last year, though, and he seemed okay doing that – but we won’t know for sure until nearer the time of the race.”

Trainer Roger Charlton, who states his son Tom, played a part in convincing him to send Aspetar to Australia (John Walton/PA Images)
Trainer Roger Charlton, whose son Tom played a part in convincing him to send Aspetar to Australia (John Walton/PA Images)

Helping give Charlton the encouragement to convince owner, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, to send Aspetar on his travels was his son Tom – who is currently working in Australia for John O’Shea.

He added:  “It came onto the radar as the season progressed, mainly through plenty of encouragement from my son Tom – who is out there.

“He knows the form of the local horses, and there are no horses coming from Japan this year.

“This is the sort of horse to do it with, because he is a tough gelding and the sharp track at Moonee Valley should suit him. He is not without a chance.”

Although Aspetar was forced to miss an intended outing in last month’s Juddmonte International at York with a blood analysis problem, Charlton believes it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

He added: “Missing York was not a frustrating thing.  (But) if we ran there he would have been running for third or fourth against a horse like Ghaiyyath, and all those other good horses, so we would have been playing for places.

“In hindsight, it was probably a good thing – because it has given him that bit extra time off ahead of this.”