Old hand Northerly and young Turk Lonhro advanced more purposefully towards the W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I) with wins 20 minutes apart in Melbourne and Sydney on Sept. 7.
Both contenders for the $3 million (Australian funds) contest on Oct. 26 were coming off unexpected defeats at their previous starts. Lonhro shook off his first defeat in his past eight starts, at the hands of Defier in the Warwick Stakes (Aust-II) , to easily land the Chelmsford Stakes (Aust-II) over 1,600 meters of Randwick.
Last year's Caulfield Guineas (Aust-I) hero easily defeated his rivals, 3-year-old Platinum Scissors (by Danehill) closest to Octagonal's high class son at the wire, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. Australian Oaks (Aust-I) winner Republic Lass held out Shogun Lodge for third a farther three-quarters of a length away. The time was 1:36.30.
At Flemington, Northerly won his first race as a 7-year-old in taking the also 1,600 meters Craiglee Stakes (Aust-II), but not until after a dogfight with Le Zagaletta (by Last Tycoon). Northerly arrived by a half length in 1:37.92 on a slightly off track. Silver Baron, a promising 4-year-old handicap stayer by Defensive Play, rushed home for third.
Northerly advanced his earnings past $4 million. The Serheed son won last year's Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, defeating Sunline and Viscount, who races in the same interests as Lonhro.
Godolphin are believed to be considering running Grandera in the Cox Plate on his way to to the Japan Cup (Jpn-I), this year shortened to 2,200 meters. Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford placed the Australia leg of the Dubai World Series in the colt's agenda after he defeated Hawk Wind in the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) on Sept 7. Grandera is also mentioned for the Breeders Cup Turf (gr. IT) on Oct 27.