Honor In War on Track for Cox Plate

23 10 2006

(MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA) – A strong performance at Werribee has former American galloper Honor In War at his best and with no excuses heading in to Saturday’s Cox Plate.

Trainer Danny O’Brien said he could not have the eight-year-old any better for Australasia’s premier weight-for-age race and he would not have another fast gallop before the race.

Stablemate Aznavour led off the 1400m workout with Honor In War quickening brilliantly over the last 600m impressing jockey Steven Arnold.

“Steven was very pleased with him,” O’Brien said.

“He gave him a nice feel and quickened up nicely at the end of his work.”

“The horse came out of it really well and recovered well so his fitness levels are right where we would like to have them.

“I think that is about all the (fast work) he wants and we will just keep him ticking over between now and Saturday.”

Honor In War was formerly trained by Paul McGee and has been quarantined at Werribee racecourse since he arrived from America last Saturday week.

O’Brien said the horse exuded a presence consistent with his high class performances highlighted by 10 wins and 12 placings in 36 starts and nearly $1.9 million in stakes.

His best win was the $790,000 Group One Turf Classic (1800m) at Churchill Downs in May 2003 but he has since been a regular big race performer.

He has twice finished second in the Group One Shadwell Mile (1600m) at Keeneland (2003 and 2004), finished third in the Group Two Mervin Muniz (1800m) in March last year and won the Listed Lauderdale Stakes (1700m) in January this year.

Honor In War has had one start back from a spell, finishing fourth when beaten five lengths in the Group Three Champion Stakes (1600m) on September 9.

“His work at Werribee has been spot-on and he’s competed in Group races all his life and it won’t be new to him on Saturday,” O’Brien said.

“Obviously we have got no idea how he will measure up form-wise against the Australian horses but he’s in good order and he’s going to go to the races with no excuses.”

“He’s got a nice turn of foot and in all the tapes of his races in America he tracks into a race from back in the field and can really sprint home towards the finish.

O’Brien said the tight Moonee Valley track would not be an issue for Honor In War who has competed on turf all his life and is used to racing on inside tracks in America.

TAB Sportsbet has Honor In War at $101 for the Cox Plate.

Meanwhile Jim Cassidy has been confirmed to ride Red Dazzler in the Cox Plate.

Cassidy won the Group One Toorak Hcp (1600m) on the Mick Price-trained galloper who joins stablemate Pompeii Ruler in the Cox Plate.

Pompeii Ruler was narrowly beaten last start when second to Casual Pass in the Group One Yalumba Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.

Pompeii Ruler is $13 for the Cox Plate and Red Dazzler at $15.

Both horses will gallop at Moonee Valley’s “Breakfast with the Best” on Tuesday morning.