About Turn On Owners Attendance At Gr1’s

Cox Plate final field

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has backflipped on a decision to allow crowds to attend two race meetings in Melbourne this weekend.

Approval was granted for up to 500 owners and connections to attend Friday night’s Gr1 Manikato Stakes and the Gr1` Cox Plate on Saturday, but late last night that approval was rescinded after community backlash.

“I suppose I can only be clear and that was the wrong judgment,” Mr Andrews said.

“I apologise for any concern it caused and again I’m not here to defend the decision. We have basically changed that, it is not happening on Saturday.”

Mr Andrews conceded the plan was overturned because of the community response, and not because of any flaw in the approval process.

“It went through the normal process but it was the wrong decision. I will cop that.”

“The issue is it didn’t meet the expectations of the community.”

Meanwhile, Saturday’s weight-for-age Gr1 WS Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in Melbourne has attracted a capacity field of fourteen.

According to punters.com, there were fifteen acceptances, however the MVRC committee used their discretionary powers to leave the Joseph O’Brien-trained Brockhurst, a Gr3-winning son of Australia (Galileo), as the first emergency.

Sneaking into the final field was promising local 3YO Grandslam. Although only a one-time winner, the full-brother to Caulfield Cup winner Jameka finished a bold third in the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas after attempting to make all.

Early pre-post favourite Russian Camelot has drawn the widest barrier, however that might actually suit the imported horse who will probably get last crack at them off the camber. Second-elect Arcadia Queen has drawn a pleasing marble in eight, although she is unlikely to get the slow pace which brought Russian Camelot undone in the Caulfield Stakes. At a tempting price  in the market is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Armory who beat all but Magical and Ghaiyyath in the Gr1 Irish Champion Stakes.

John Wheeler, who owns Cox Plate runner Russian Camelot, criticised the State Government’s handling of the issue, saying it “smacks of the lack of competence we’ve seen throughout the coronavirus”.

“You’d have to say it’s a little bit shambolic of the Government in the way they’ve managed this, but look we’ve had other things that are worse, so smile and get on with it,” he said.

“It set the industry up to be seen as elitist and getting special favours and in some ways the backlash is understandable.”


Saturday, October 24 

1 – Kolding (10) C Waller J McDonald 59kg

2 – Humidor (14) C Waller C Williams 59kg

3 – Fierce Impact (12) M Smith L Currie 59kg

4 – Master Of Wine (1) M, W and J Hawkes M Rodd 59kg

5 – Mugatoo (9) K Lees J Allen 59kg

6 – Aspetar (3) R Charlton D Lane 59kg

7 – Sir Dragonet (7) C Maher & D Eustace G Boss 59kg

8 – Magic Wand (4) A O’Brien M Zahra 57kg

9 – Arcadia Queen (8) G & A Williams W Pike 57kg

10 – Nettoyer (13) W Roche B Egan 57kg

11 – Russian Camelot (15) D O’Brien D Oliver 56.5kg

12 – Armory (6) A O’Brien B Melham  56,5kg

13 – Probabeel (2) J Richards K McEvoy 55,5kg

14 – Grandslam (5) C Maher & D Eustace J McNeil 49.5kg

15 (em) – Buckhurst (11) J O’Brien J Kah 59kg

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