Adelaide was the only horse invited to run in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and despite an unfavourable barrier draw, is still a leading competitor according to trainer Aidan O’Brien.
The $3 million weight-for-age event this Saturday marks the return of the top Irish trainer to our shores for the first time in six years.
It was 2008 when O’Brien had a trio of runners in the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) but after a disappointing experience that saw all three finish down the field, he has failed to saddle a runner in Australia since.
It is the globetrotting Adelaide, who has not finished outside the top three in any of his seven career starts, that has managed to bring O’Brien back. The three-year-old has races in Ireland, England, America, and France this year alone and is set to add Australia to his CV come Saturday.
The barrier draw did not go Adelaide’s way. He was the last horse picked, which meant he was the only one to not choose a barrier and was left with the remaining stall 13 of 14.
O’Brien however remains optimistic, and believes Adelaide has what it takes to be competitive in the 2014 Cox Plate – a unique race with challenging demands.
Speaking to racing.com, the trainer said: “We are looking forward to the race and it is great to have a runner down there again.
“He has travelled well and it has been a case of so far so good.
“We decided to target the race when Tom (Magnier, son of Coolmore supremo John) and the lads bought into him, and the lads who went with him on the flight say it went well.
“The mile and a quarter on a tight track will suit him. He has plenty of speed and fast ground will suit him too.”
Depending on how his run pans out, Adelaide may remain in Australia and put an end to his globetrotting ways, for a time at least.
“It is possible Adelaide will stay in Australia after the race but no decision has been made,” O’Brien concluded.
Despite the wide draw, Adelaide is co-second favourite in the 2014 Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au. Both Adelaide and Sacred Falls are available at $6 while Fawkner remains favourite at a price of $4.
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