Aidan O’Brien has sent Rostropovich to be his runner in the Cox Plate.
There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the European form versus the Australian equivalent and the concentration of the argument has centered around Godolphin’s Benbatl winner of the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield two weeks ago and his chance of beating Winx denying her a fourth win in this race, the Arc of down under.
Rostropovich’s whose best form came at the Curragh in the Irish Derby in June where he put in a battling performance to finish second to Latrobe, a place in front of Saxon Warrior has largely been ignored.
After the Curragh he went to Ascot for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, England’s premier middle contest. Seamie Heffernan rode him positively bringing him to the front early making it a true run gallop, in the straight he began to thread water staying on eventually to finish fifth.
He was given a break until September and brought back for a much easier encounter at G3 level where he beat his stable companion Giuseppe Garibaldi, all three trips over a mile and half.
It’s interesting that he’s brought back in trip here to ten furlongs, a trip he last won over in May when he took the Dee Stakes at Chester on a track not too dissimilar to Moonee Valley. That win brought a trip to Paris for the French Derby where he failed to land a blow behind Study Of Man hence the step up in trip.
Can he become the most unpopular horse ever to visit Australia?
Well he has a chance, a son of Frankel means it’s in his blood and his best form, finishing in front of Saxon Warrior means he’s not far away from being up there with Roaring Loin given the Irish Champion Stakes run of Saxon Warrior, albeit on his best day.
Winx has nothing to prove, she will be trying to win her seventh G1 of the year after a long campaign. She likes to come from off the pace, from way off the pace actually and Hugh Bowman her rider always exudes the utmost of supreme confidence giving her the opportunity to find her stride before she unleashes her turn of foot. It’s always been enough.
Winx is the current Pattern Racing World Championship having won six G1’s last year. Since the beginning of the championships in 2013 no horse has ever won seven. It will be wonderful to watch her do it and have Australia celebrate but with Ryan Moore likely to let Rostropovich take it on, there’s a chance, an outside one, that her speed may just be tested, just once to often this season.
Recommendation: Rostropovich 33/1 ew
You can follow the story of the G1 Pattern Race year by clicking on the links below. There you’ll find how the 251 G1’s already run this year have panned out in championship format.