Colt tipped to make Cox Plate cut
Just a week after Yes Yes Yes eclipsed his older rivals in The Everest, another three-year-old is poised to upset his more experienced rivals in a major race at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Castelvecchio is expected to be the only three-year-old in the $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) when MVRC officials announce the final field and barrier draw on Tuesday morning.
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Trainer Richard Litt said he was hoping Castelvecchio's Group 1 form this year, that includes his win in the Champagne Stakes and a last-start second in the Spring Champion Stakes, would be enough to secure his colt a Cox Plate start.
"We are banking on the colt getting a start,'' Litt said.
"Our plan is to take him over in the morning to have a gallop at Moonee Valley so he can get a feel for the track ahead of Saturday.
"I don't think the track will pose any problems for the horse. I know he likes to get back and swoop but he is actually quite versatile.
"I'm hoping we can get an opportunity to ride him a little bit further forward in the Cox Plate.''
Litt has booked Melbourne's champion jockey Craig Williams to ride Castelvecchio at 49.5kg in the Cox Plate. "Craig has guaranteed us he will make the weight,'' Litt said.
Castelvecchio is currently rated at $14 with Ladbrokes to become the first three-year-old since Shamus Award (2013) to win the Cox Plate. Japan's outstanding mare Lys Gracieux is the $3.20 favourite.
Litt said Castelvecchio has "taken massive improvement" from his last-start second to Shadow Hero.
"I think coming into the Cox Plate he's had the advantage of that 2000m run under his belt,'' Litt said.
Meanwhile, Godolphin's Avilius must gallop to the satisfaction of stewards at Flemington this morning before being confirmed as a Cox Plate starter.
Trainer James Cummings informed stewards Avilius was found to have bled from one nostril after he worked last Saturday.