Private Steer Wins Warwich Stakes; Cox Plate Looming

Private Steer advanced toward the W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I), her first appearance at five producing an effortless win in the $200,000 (Australian funds) Warwick Stakes at Warwick Farm Aug. 21.

On a track which had a meeting abandoned though rain four days earlier, the daughter of Danehill Dancer ran the seven furlongs in 1:22.79, the final three furlongs in in the traditional spring opener in 34.72, .

Private Steer settled fourth under Glen Boss before winning by three lengths from co-pacemaker So Assertive. Another Cox contender, Niello, was a farther three-quarters of a length away in third.

Worth $3.3 million, the Cox will be decided over 2,040 meters of Moonee Valley on Oct. 23.

The Angelis Vasali-bred Private Steer has amassed almost $3.5 million, her 12 wins from 18 starts including six at group level and three group Is -- the Stradbroke and Doncaster (both handicaps) and the All-Aged Stakes.

Trainer John O'Shea is confident the distaffer can cope with the increased distance of the Cox.

Confidence was in short supply for the crew behind Dance Hero. Last season's top Australian juvenile had his spring curtailed by handler Gai Waterhouse after he finished last of four in the Up and Coming Stakes (Aust-II).

A veterinary test on the gelding revealed that Dance Hero had an intermittent cardiac irregularity. Vets also advised stewards that his post race recovery was poor. The Up and Coming provided Danehill with another graded winner, Fastnet Rock breaking through for his first win.