Bel Esprit Could Go in Cox Plate After All

Top 3-year-old Bel Esprit will stay in training for a possible shot at the $3 million W.S. Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Oct. 26.

Just 24 hours after Bel Esprit's owners decided that the colt should be sent out for a spell, trainer John Symons announced a change of plans.

Symons said a majority of the Bel Esprit syndicate had agreed that the colt should remain in training with a decision on whether he contests the Cox Plate to be made next Tuesday morning prior to final acceptances for the weight-for-age classic.

Symons said he was disappointed by Tuesday's announcement that Bel Esprit would be spelled, reports suggesting the colt's seven owners reached their verdict without consulting him.
However the media attention created by their surprising decision forced reconsideration after it emerged that all seven members of the syndicate had not been consulted.

Amid celebrating his Thousand Guineas victory at Caulfield on Wednesday with Macedon Lady, Symons said he had been under the impression a decision on a Cox Plate start would not be made until at least late this week.

Symons hinted at a reversal of Tuesday's announcement when he fielded persistent media inquiries about plans for Bel Esprit with the smiling reply: "It's not over until the fat lady sings."

Bel Esprit finished an unlucky second to Helenus in last Saturday's Caulfield Guineas (1 mile), his third successive minor placing in a Group I event..

"The horse came through his Caulfield Guineas run in terrific order and I'm confident he'll be ready to run a race in the Cox Plate," Symons said.