Racing To Win Takes Major Step to Cox Plate

Racing To Win elevated himself to within sight of the summit with a history-making success in the Epsom Handicap (Aus-I) at Randwick on Oct 7. First prize for the heaviest-priced favorite in the 140-year history of the famous mile advanced his earnings to almost $3 million (Australian).

The pinnacle comes on Oct 28, when the 4-year-old son of Encosta de Lago contests the $3 million W.S. Cox Plate (Aus-I) at Melbourne's Mooneey Valley. Success in that race would go a long way to making the gelding a hot contender as Australian Horse of the Year. The 2,040-meter Cox will be his first attempt beyond a mile.

To take the $600K Epsom as the 7-10 elect, Racing To Win needed to respond to Glen Boss to overpower pacemaker Desert War (15-2). They had a half neck to spare from the 6-year-old.

Desert War was attempting to become the first ever three-time Epsom winner, the Desert King gelding's attempt magnificently courageous. He carried 58kg (127.6 pounds) and spotted the winner two years and a kilogram.

Malcolm headed the other eight 1 1/2 lengths away and never really in what was essentially a two-horse race. After Larry Cassidy managed some easy fractions for Desert War – the mile took 1:35.06 -- well outside the 1:33.75 race record Racing To Win posted in the George Main (Aus-I), over the same ground seven days earlier.

Racing To Win is the first in 27 years to collect the Randwick grade I miles in the same year after his Doncaster triumph at 3 in April. His nine wins from 13 races include four grade Is. A $40K Australian Easter yearling in 2004, the Boscobel Stud bred gray is trained for Trevor Stuckey and Penny Yan by John O'Shea.

Encosta de Lago commands the highest fee on Coolmore's Australian roster at $160,000 and is a homebred grade I-winning son of two-time shuttler Fairy King. His rival Redoute's Choice grabbed Epsom support in the Flight Stakes. Arrowfield's reigning Champion Sire son of Danehill was represented by runaway winner Cheeky Choice. Gai Waterhouse, trainer of Epsom second Desert War, prepares her.

Her stable appeared unlucky not to collect an earlier grade I in the Spring Champion Stakes with Tuesday Joy. The Carnegie filly finished the closest of fourths to 50-1 chance Teranaba (by Anabaa) after coming off badly in two traffics jams in the stretch. Teranaba was partnered by Larry Cassidy on the eve of his departure to take up a riding contract in Macau.

Another Waterhouse compensation was provided by the successful return from 6 months on the disabled list by Bentley Biscuit in The Shorts (Aus-II). Partly owned by the trainer and North American, George Mooratoff, the Peintre Celebre son is a winner at nine of 12 starts and $500,000. Expect to hear more of this talented 5-year-old.