Aidan O’Brien chasing second win in Cox Plate at The Valley

The racing world become smaller over the years with the internationalisation of the Victoria Spring Racing Carnival.  Since 1993 the Melbourne Cup has had representation from Europe while interest in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate has also grown with the three big races attracting global audiences and runners from throughout Europe and Japan. 

Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has been trying for more than a decade to win the Melbourne Cup but he has won Australasia’s weight-for-age championship, the Cox Plate, with his first runner when Adelaide scored in 2014. O’Brien has since been represented by Highland Reel (third in 2015), Rostropovich (fifth in 2018) and Magic Wand (fourth last year). 

This year O’Brien has dual representation in the $5 million Group 1 Cox Plate at The Valley when his travelling foreman T J Comerford saddles Armory (IRE) and Magic Wand (IRE) on Saturday. 

Magic Wand needs no introduction. After her fourth last year behind Lys Gracieux, Magic Wand went on the Melbourne Cup, finishing 10th to Vow And Declare before emerging four days later to win the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes over 2000m at the same track. 

Armory, like Adelaide, is a northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old and will be having his 12th race start on Saturday.  Whereas Adelaide campaigned in the USA, with success, COVID-19 has kept Armory at home where he won his first race as a three-year-old in the Group 3 Royal Whip (2012m) at The Curragh in August. 

However, it was his third placed finish behind Magical and Ghaiyyath, two European heavyweights, in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes last month that was the catalyst in sending Armory to Melbourme. 

And there has been good support for Armory, firming from $6 to $5.50 since Tuesday’s barrier draw.  He shares the second line of betting with Arcadia Queen behind another northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old Russian Camelot who is favourite with TAB at $4.60.

Listen to Comerford and watch Armory and Magic Wand go through their paces in quarantine at Werribee on Wednesday.