Cox jumps behind NZ Cup winner in Classic
By Jonny Turner
The catch drive of all catch drives awaits Jonny Cox in the Rangiora Classic on Sunday.
Cox will sub in for Mark Purdon behind New Zealand Cup winner and race-favourite Self Assured in the Group Three Feature.
Behind the best horse in New Zealand, the reinsman is set to have every possible weapon at his disposal.
“He is a pretty handy horse to be getting behind, that’s for sure,” Cox said.
“We have got a lot of options there, probably the main thing is not to overdrive him or do anything silly like that.”
“He is a lovely horse and he is going to be a big chance.”
As they have done throughout this season, Self Assured and Spankem will go head-to-head..
When Cox puts Self Assured into Sunday’s race is likely to depend on what Tim Williams decides to do early with Spankem.
Spankem (5) has brilliant gate speed and crucially has drawn one spot inside Self Assured (6).
Spankem was forced to sit outside Self Assured in their last meeting in the Easter Cup when digging deep for second.
The effort was so good that if the runs are reversed and Williams and Spankem made Cox and Self Assured sit outside them on Sunday the result could be reversed.
Though Cox sits behind Self Assured for the first time on race day he has driven the star pacer in trackwork at Hayden Cullen’s stable.
“I have driven him a few times since I have been working for Hayden.”
“And I drove him this week in work and he worked really nice.”
Cox also combines with the Cullen trained Stag Party in Sunday’s Rangiora Three-Year-Old Stakes.
The pacer comes into the 2000m mobile after a strong effort for second behind Samskara at Wyndham.
Though Stag Party meets opposition with superior records he has the advantage of drawing barrier 1.
“He is a nice horse and he went a pretty good race down south,” Cox said.
“From the draw, I would think he would be a decent chance.”
Cox also drives the Cullen trained Emmy in race 2.
Dropping back from age-group racing to a maiden event, the filly has not drawn well in barrier 14.
“She is a bit of a funny wee thing and she has still got a bit to learn yet,” Cox said.
“It is a bit of a drop back from racing those nice fillies, the draw will be a bit tricky but hopefully we can get into the race and she can be a chance.”
Cox reunites with Phoebe Onyx in race 5.
The Coaster Howe trained trotter comes into the 2600m handicap after a slightly unlucky effort for seventh at Addington.
“He was a wee bit unlucky last time.”
“He is usually pretty honest though sometimes he has had his chance to win and he hasn’t quite been able to take it.”
“In that field, I would think he would be not a bad place chance.”
Saint Waitaki looks another place prospect for Cox in race 8.
“He is still learning, when he won he went straight past them but he didn’t quite know what he was doing and started pricking his ears.”
“He missed away at Addington but ran on quite well, if he gets away a bit better he would be a decent chance.”
The Bill McDonald trained Saint Waitaki starts from barrier 2 in his 2600m standing start assignment.