Bart sights set for fourth Cox Plate win
Bart Cummings will try to win his fourth Cox Plate and his second with a three-year-old when the inexperienced So You Think runs in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club committee had no issue about the Group Three Gloaming Stakes winner being worthy of a run in the $3 million race which has attracted a full field of 14.
The son of 2002 English Derby winner High Chaparral will be having only his fifth start in the 2040m feature.
Cummings was satisfied with So You Think’s work on the outside of stablemate and VRC Oaks contender Faint Perfume although he was beaten by the filly in his workout at the Valley on Tuesday morning.
"It wasn’t too bad, he’s a big, gangly, leggy colt. He struggled around the turn a little bit but once he balanced up in the straight he ran the last (400 metre) sectional in 24 and a fraction. It was okay," Cummings said.
The master trainer recalled that Saintly didn’t handle the home turn when he won his Cox Plate.
"Saintly got lost and struggled around the home turn but he still won by a fraction so the straight is long enough if they are good enough," he said.
Cummings was happy when So You Think was the fifth horse called out at Tuesday’s barrier draw and selected gate seven himself.
At that stage barriers four (Vision And Power), three (Heart Of Dreams), five (Nom Du Jeu) and six (Scenic Shot) had been taken, in that order.
"You’ve got to be in it to win it and at this stage he’s still on a learning curve and I didn’t want him to be on the outside of the field because I really believe the horses on his outside will help him to get around the small, tight track at Moonee Valley," Cummings said.
"Today he was on the outside and the markers were out a long way, as far as they could possibly put them.
"So the horse being here for the first time, it’s a big ask for him to be kosher on it."
Cummings won his first Cox Plate 36 years ago with three-year-old colt Taj Rossi and more recently with four-year-olds Saintly (1996) and Dane Ripper (1997).
Cummings said he didn’t rate So You Think up with a horse such as Taj Rossi.
"He’s promising at this stage, but he’ll have to do everything right to run in the placings," Cummings said.
So You Think is one of two three-year-olds in the field this year along with the Gai Waterhouse-trained colt Manhattan Rain.
"They’ve done it before, Rogie’s (Graeme Rogerson) three-year-old (Savabeel) did it (in 2004). If they are good enough they can do it," Cummings said.
Cummings was still keen to aim So You Think at the Cox Plate if he could make the field despite him missing a place in the Caulfield Guineas when he came from last to finish fifth to Starspangledbanner.
"His closing sectionals were equal to the winner. He lost any chance he may have had at the barrier. He lost 10 lengths in the first 50 yards because he had a tongue tie on and he resented it so I’ve taken it off. Hopefully that’ll do the trick," Cummings said.
"Overall I don’t think the Cox Plate is as strong as in previous years.
"This horse (So You Think) hasn’t reached his top at this stage but he shows great potential and if he keeps on improving he could be in with a chance."
Cummings didn’t enter So You Think for the Victoria Derby but said the colt could run in the Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 7 before a spell and return for an autumn campaign aimed at the AJC Australian Derby.
By Mark Ryan