The Melbourne Mail: Moonee Valley - 22nd October 2021

It's Cox Plate weekend at the Valley with the Manikato meeting on Friday night followed by the big one on Saturday.


The Cox Plate itself is an intriguing contest for punters to solve (a preview of it can be read elsewhere in the Sporting Guide) and, while much of the pre-race talk has been in regards to its lack of quality, the Manikato too can claim to provide punters with a good betting puzzle. 

At the top of betting in the Manikato sit three winners from Caulfield Guineas Day: Savatoxl, Lombardo and Sneaky Five. Having run and won on the same card, from the same chute, makes comparisons fairly straightforward. 

There is of course more to assessing a horses chances than just looking at the last start rating, but when doing so they fall out in the same order as listed above and at an expected level that seems very beatable. If the best chance is Savatoxl than a horse like Jonker must have a great shot, and as such he represents our each-way play for the weekend with prices around $9.00 appealing. 

The case here is fairly simple: Savatoxl looks the slight pick of the recent form and of those at the front of the market and Jonker is at least as good, perhaps even a bit better, on a going day. Evidence of this is also fairly simple: They raced each other in Brisbane in May and Jonker beat Savatoxl home. 

Savatoxl was assessed as being a little bit short of his best there, but ultimately it seems hard to make a case that he is much better, if at all, than Jonker. Now recent form does count for plenty and Savatoxl comes off a win that says he is as good as ever while Jonker has been below his best ratings in two spring runs. Jonker pulled up with excuses first up when going solo down the far side at Flemington and then had little luck in the Premiere last time, a race that was stronger on paper than the Manikato, and should have finished much closer than the final margin of just over three lengths.

This time he should press forward for Daniel Moor, a jockey with his eye and, all things being equal, he's about as likely as any. Each way all... night. 

Our best comes up earlier on the card where the great So Si Bon looks for redemption in the Vobis Gold Star, a valuable race that eluded him 12 months ago when he was sent out around even money. 

He was edged out in a tight finish to a messy race there and once again the pace tonight looks far from assured. So Si Bon should be in the first few in-running and his two runs this time around have him well poised. 

He ran well in a slowly run race first beaten for dash but sticking at it gamely as always, and then stood up well in a much faster race last time, hopefully putting the finishing touches on him for tonight where a peak would go a long way to beating a competitive field but made up of nothing he would be particularly worried by on his best form. 

That best form is far more reliable than he gets credit for. Short of 4/1 So Si Bon has won 5 from 9 for a return on investment of 200%. He's a winning machine! 



Bet Of The Day: Race 4 #1 So Si Bon @ $3.50 

Each Way Play: Race 7 #2 Jonker @ $9.00 

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