Cox Plate beckons for Cape Of Good Hope

Cape Of Good Hope (left) has made an instant impression in Australia, winning the Caulfield Stakes.

Lindsay Park senior trainer David Hayes used Criterion as his yardstick when plotting a Melbourne spring carnival campaign for Cape Of Good Hope who has won first-up on Australian soil in the Caulfield Stakes.

Criterion, the 2014 ATC Australian Derby winner, headed overseas the following year and had two runs in the UK before returning to Australia to win the Caulfield Stakes.

He then chased Winx home in the first of her four Cox Plate victories before running third in the Melbourne Cup.

Cape Of Good Hope arrived in Australia on September 28 and left quarantine at Werribee on Saturday morning with a stopover at his new Flemington home before going to Caulfield.

Under the urgings of Mark Zahra, Cape Of Good Hope ($21) scored a short-half-head win over Black Heart Bart ($21) with Harlem ($26) 1-1/2 lengths away third.

Hayes, who trains in partnership with son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, purchased Cape Of Good Hope for clients of Lindsay Park as both a racing and stallion prospect with breeding giant Coolmore retaining a 30 per cent interest in the horse.

He also purchased Caulfield and Melbourne Cup hope Constantinople for the same ownership group at the same time.

“I wish I had a little bit more of a share in him in now,” Hayes said.

“I bought these two as three-year-olds thinking the boys will have some fun with them as four-year-olds when I go to Hong Kong.

“But the old man might just have a bit of fun first.”

Cape Of Good Hope now heads to the Cox Plate at The Valley on October 26 and onto the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on the final day of Melbourne Cup week.

Hayes warned he is expecting improvement from Cape Of Good Hope ahead of the Cox Plate.

“We kept him really lightly trained at Werribee because last season there were a few horses that went wrong there and he was a big investment,” Hayes said.

“If he didn’t run well he could improve by stepping the work up, but I don’t think I’ll be stepping the work up.

“I’ll keep it exactly the same going into the Cox Plate.”

Cape Of Good Hope shortened from $51 into $8 fourth favourite for the Cox Plate with Japan’s Lys Gracieux the $4.50 favourite.

Brad Rawiller, rider of runner-up Black Heart Bad was proud of the gelding’s effort.

“We had a beautiful run and on the day we were beaten by one giving him weight,” Rawiller said.

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