Danny O’Brien’s confidence in Russian Camelot has not been shaken by his surprise defeat in the Caulfield Stakes.
If anything, the effort boosted the trainer’s belief that he’s a huge chance in the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
In the Caulfield Stakes, Russian Camelot had no answer to the paralysing finishing burst of West Australian raider Arcadia Queen, who sprinted past him as he held on for second.
O’Brien is looking forward to a rematch with her as he believes the Cox Plate will be run at a faster pace than the Caulfield Stakes in which Russian Camelot wasn’t suited by the extremely slow tempo.
“The Cox Plate will be run at a much faster clip than the Caulfield Stakes, which will suit Russian Camelot,” O’Brien said.
“In the finish Arcadia Queen, who is a top-class horse, reeled off the fastest last 200 metres for the day so his effort was very good. It’s hard to hold out a sprint like that.”
O’Brien said Russian Camelot had come out of the race in great shape and was ready for the Cox Plate where he will be ridden by Damien Oliver.
Oliver has won the Cox Plate twice aboard Dane Ripper in 1997 and Northerly in 2001.
Russian Camelot has maintained favouritism for the Cox Plate over Arcadia Queen.
The race will also contain international raiders Armory, Sir Dragonet, Aspetar and Magic Wand, as well as two stars from the Sydney carnival in Epsom Handicap winner Probabeel and Kolding.
Humidor will line up in his third Cox Plate having finished second in 2017 and third in 2018, each time behind Winx.
O’Brien is looking for his second Cox Plate win as he was also successful with Shamus Award in 2013.
The trainer was happy with Russian Camelot’s work at Moonee Valley on Saturday morning.
The Cox Plate is the four-year-old’s main goal for the spring but he also remains on track for the Melbourne Cup after he contests Saturday’s weight-for-age championship.