Black Piranha back to best for Cox Plate
Black Piranha has astounded trainer Con Karakatsanis with the improvement he’s made at his Melbourne base ahead of Saturday’s Cox Plate.
The Stradbroke Handicap winner has done brilliantly since his first race in Victoria, the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on October 10, where the swooper was sixth to Allez Wonder.
"He’s a completely different horse to what he was last week before the Toorak," Karakatsanis said.
"I thought I had him just about right but comparing him to this week, it’s totally different, he’s pulled up great and thriving and I honestly couldn’t believe the difference a run and a week has done to him.
"He’s improved two or three lengths even in his work, so I can’t wait to get him to the races.
"It’s taken him just that little bit extra to settle in, and now he has, his work has been great."
Karakatsanis said the track at Caulfield did not play in Black Piranha’s favour and he thought the run had plenty of merit.
"The place you didn’t want to be was where he was which was second and third last the fence, it was always going to be hard for him on a track that was better for the on-pace runners," Karakatsanis said.
"He had a lovely run through to the 500 metres but Tye (Angland) had to grab hold of him and wait and wait and by then they’d skipped on the corner by the time he got going again.
"But he only got beaten a length and he was giving them eight lengths at the corner, it was a very good effort."
The Rosehill trainer has enjoyed an amazing ride with Black Piranha and said the enormity of his next assignment was just starting to sink in.
"The atmosphere was great for the Toorak but it’s really starting to kick in now that we’re heading to the Cox Plate, it really is starting to feel special.
"We’ve got the right horse and a jockey in very good form, so I can’t wait."
Angland is also keen to get to Moonee Valley.
"I’ll be there on Tuesday to ride him in a gallop and even that’s going to be great," Angland said.
"It’s a big honour to be able to ride in the Cox Plate and I want to make the most of the opportunity and I want to take everything in and really enjoy what’s going on around me.
Angland, who scored the biggest win of his career in June when he steered Black Piranha home in the Group One Stradbroke, was not surprised the horse was more settled this week.
"He’s not the best traveller and the extra time down there will certainly suit him and from what Con has told me the horse has done very well and that’s great to hear," Angland said.
"I’m going down there on Tuesday to ride him and I’m really looking forward to it. I want to take everything in.
"To have a ride in the Cox Plate is something special but to ride a genuine contender in the race is something else."
TAB Sportsbet has Black Piranha at $15 for the Cox Plate with Whobegotyou the $2.40 favourite.
By Russell Jackson