Cox Plate 2023: Paddington second fav for Moonee Valley victory
Paddington has been priced up at 5/1 by Coral for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate 2023, following the opening entry stage for the Moonee Valley showpiece.
The Group One contest will be staged over approximately 1m 2f on October 28 and past Cox Plate winners include the legendary Phar Lap, hat-trick hero Rising Fast and four-time champion Winx.
Aidan O’Brien sent Adelaide Down Under to be successful in 2014, former Ballydoyle inmate Sir Dragonet prevailed in 2020 and son Joseph struck with State Of Rest two years ago.
“At this stage, the Cox Plate has been mentioned as just one possible target for Paddington later in the year, so although we’ve initially made him second favourite for the race, should Moonee Valley emerge as a likely destination, those odds would shorten considerably,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
Paddington, a three-year-old son of Siyouni, has claimed victories in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Coral-Eclipse and the Sussex Stakes during a stellar campaign.
Former top-class National Hunt jockey Adrian Maguire gets to partner the colt in most of his home work and holds him in the highest regard.
Maguire rode over 1,000 winners in his career, with plenty of big-race success which included a Cheltenham Gold Cup with Cool Ground in 1992, a Champion Chase with Viking Flagship a couple of years later and a pair of King George VI Chase wins with Barton Bank and Florida Pearl.
He said: “I ride out Paddington every day. For what he has achieved so far, he’s the best I’ve ever ridden.
“He’s an amazing horse. He was always a good horse, but what he’s doing on the racecourse, to win with great authority, is leaving no doubt in people’s minds. It’s great.
“I can only imagine how far he’ll go and seeing the reaction here at Ballydoyle, everyone is so delighted to have what people are calling a superstar horse at the moment in the yard. Everyone gets great joy out of watching him do what he is doing.”
Paddington showed precious little hint of what he would achieve when beaten eight lengths in a seven-furlong debut at Ascot in September, but he has been unbeaten in seven races since.
Invariably, all the good ones have their own unique personality and Maguire says Paddington knows he is something out of the ordinary on the gallops.
“He knows he’s good,” added Maguire. “He just seems very solid. It’s always nice to ride a special horse. It is what we all do it for – to find that special horse.
“I have been lucky through my riding career to find special horses to ride. I had one or two when I was training also – and Paddington is a very special horse.
“He is very authoritative in his wins. He leaves no doubt in people’s minds. He does what it says on the tin and he can’t do any more. He is just a very special individual.”
Hong Kong star Romantic Warrior heads Coral’s Cox Plate 2023 betting, with the former Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Without A Fight the third favourite.
7/2 Romantic Warrior
7/1 Without A Fight
8/1 Light Infantry
12/1 Cairo, Mr Brightside
All odds and market correct at date of publication