Multiple Group One winner Black Heart Bart has been paid up as a late entry for the $5 million Cox Plate after making his mark in a couple of important lead-up races.
Now trained by Lindsey Smith, Black Heart Bart had been retired last year but was put back into work with Smith ahead of this year’s spring carnival and the nine-year-old gelding struck for a Group One win in last month’s Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield in the third start of his campaign.
The six-time Group One winner backed up his Underwood performance with a close second to import and fellow Cox Plate hopeful Cape Of Good Hope in the Group One Caulfield Stakes (2000m) last Saturday week.
Connections have paid $200,000 to put him in the Cox Plate which includes the $54,450 final acceptance.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club committee will decide the final field on Tuesday morning, with a limit of 14 runners plus emergencies.
Black Heart Bart has only run in one Cox Plate, finishing ninth in 2016 when trained by Darren Weir.
He was a $21 chance on Monday with star Japanese mare Lys Gracieux the $3.40 favourite ahead of the Adam Trinder-trained Mystic Journey at $7.
Four Cox Plate hopefuls will be among the horses galloping at The Valley on Tuesday morning at the MVRC’s annual Breakfast With The Best held before the announcements of the final fields and barrier draws for Friday night’s Group One Manikato Stakes and Saturday’s Cox Plate.
The Chris Waller-trained pair Kings Will Dream and Verry Elleegant will have their second gallops at The Valley in the past week.
The Richard Litt-trained three-year-old colt Castelvecchio will also have a look at the course as will New Zealand gelding Te Akau Shark.