Racing: Jimmy Choux outright favourite

By Mike Dillon

Jimmy Choux, ahead of Hold It Harvey, races up to Red Ruler (rails) on his way to winning the NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic at Hastings. Photo / APN
Jimmy Choux, ahead of Hold It Harvey, races up to Red Ruler (rails) on his way to winning the NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic at Hastings. Photo / APN

Jimmy Choux is now the clearcut Cox Plate favourite at Moonee Valley on October 22, and why wouldn't he be?

John Bary is not one to worry about records, or even the opposition in a race, but some of us might be a bit concerned about going into the famous race as the public elect.

Historically, the Cox Plate has been favourable to favourites with an overall 41 per cent record, but recent records tell a different story.

In the past 20 years only five favourites have won the race that sits up there with the world's elite weight-for-age events.

And it's not a bad line-up of five: So You Think, Makybe Diva, Northerly, Sunline and Might And Power.

You would be on any one of those to win the race this year.

Favourites to be beaten in that two-decade period include Miss Finland, Lonhro (twice), Sunline, Redoute's Choice, Jeune and Naturalism.

In 13 contests between 1979-1990, 10 favourites won: Dulcify, Kingston Town (three times), Red Anchor, Bonecrusher, Rubiton, Poetic Prince, Almaarad and Better Loosen Up.

Records are only there to be broken and a better guide is form comparison.

You can make a compelling case that this year's Cox Plate field is one of the softer line-ups of the past decade.

Jimmy Choux will get his chance to win. It's no surprise Australian bookmakers immediately crunched his $6 quote into $5 favouritism after the demolition job he did on the opposition in Saturday's $300,000 NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic at Hastings.

It was as comfortable as it was comprehensive.

The way he was forced to achieve it after being buried back on the rails in midfield approaching the home turn, proved he will be ideally suited to Moonee Valley and its showcase event.

Cox Plates are run at a high cruising speed with a sprint that often comes on as far out as the 700m.

It's not a race for the faint-hearted and Jimmy Choux is certainly not that.

Pacemaker Red Ruler pinched a five-length break as Jonathan Riddell was working Jimmy Choux into the clear at the 250m and the favourite had to knuckle down to serious work to pick him up.

He not only did that, he did it with ease and Riddell did not even have to use his whip.

It may not be a classic Cox Plate line-up, but it will still be stronger than what Jimmy Choux faced on Saturday.

"We've got Jimmy Choux at $5 ahead of Helmet on $8," said DoubleBet bookie Brian Taylor.

"Lion Tamer and Rekindled Interest are together on $10 with Whobegotyou, My Kingdom Of Fife and Smart Missile all at $13. "Linton and Secret Admirer are on $17."

Whobegotyou, as he has been before, was the early Cox Plate favourite, but has been a drifter in the face of rumours all may not be well with the horse. As much as $14.50 was available on him in Australia yesterday.

Understandably, the New Zealand TAB has a wider gap between the favourites - Jimmy Choux at $4 and Helmet second favourite at $9.

* He's Remarkable is a coming superstar.

Jimmy Choux grabbed the spotlight on Saturday, but as a single performance, He's Remarkable scooped the pool.

Trainer Roger James was as honest and thoughtful as ever after the handsome 4-year-old made a few smart horses look like pit ponies. "I might have made a few mistakes with this horse last season - I don't know."

James was clearly referring to the fact he trained He's Remarkable up as a stayer to head towards the $2.2 million Telecom Derby at Ellerslie and the Australian Derby in Sydney.

He didn't feature in either race, but conditions didn't suit either.

For all the world, He's Remarkable has the galloping action of a stayer, getting his head down low when he extends.

But the sprint he can produce up to 1600m is truly that - remarkable.

"I'm in no rush to step him up over ground," said James.

The big money may not be far away.

"I'm a great believer that when they are down in the weights, have a go [at big races]."

If he could win a race to qualify him, He's Remarkable would be ideally placed at Flemington in the A$1 million Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Can't you see him winding up down that long home straight.

* Peter McKay declared Antonio Lombardo better than he was as a juvenile when the colt resumed with a win at Ruakaka and Saturday's Hawkes Bay Guineas victory proved it.

If the sprinting 3-year-olds couldn't beat Antonio Lombardo on Saturday they never will - Anabandana excluded.

The handsome colt was softened up for fully 400m before he finally landed the lead on his own, which would have been enough to beat a lesser racehorse.

Instead, he kept going strongly and was never in danger.

McKay and wife Kim do a magnificent job with their team.

The way Antonio Lombardo raced Saturday there is no reason to suspect he won't be successful when the Guineas races get to 1600m.

* The next few days might tell whether there is anything amiss with Booming.

The horse who was expected to offer Jimmy Choux the most opposition on Saturday was beaten soon after Vinny Colgan pulled him out to improve around the field at the 900m. He was not persevered with and finished last.

Colgan told stewards Booming felt ordinary in his action, but a veterinary examination could find nothing wrong.

Jeff Lynds has set Booming for the Melbourne Cup.

- NZ Herald

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