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State Of Rest set for Cox Plate as Joseph O'Brien eyes another Australian prize

State Of Rest: impressive winner of Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes last time
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Saturday: 7.10am Moonee Valley
Ladbrokes Cox Plate (Group 1)| 1m2f | 3yo+ 

Joseph O'Brien has already won the Melbourne Cup twice and looks to have a live chance of winning another of Australia's most prestigious races as Saratoga Grade 1 winner State Of Rest takes aim at the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.

Bidding to become only the second northern hemisphere-trained winner of the Moonee Valley highlight after Adelaide struck in 2014, O'Brien has called on Australian-based Cork native Johnny Allen to partner the improving three-year-old for his biggest test yet.

Allen, 37, spent roughly five years riding for O'Brien's late grandfather Joe Crowley at the legendary Owning Hill base before going on to land 12 Group 1s in Australia.

"State Of Rest seems to have taken his journey and preparation well ahead of the race so we're looking forward to seeing how he gets on," said O'Brien.

"He's drawn in stall eight and I don't think that will be too bad for him. It would be great if he could run well and pick up some of the prize-money."

He added: "We obviously know Johnny well and he won a Group 3 for us on Downdraft a couple of years ago at Flemington. He's a top rider so we're delighted to have him."

Prolific winner Zaaki tops the market for Annabel Neasham as he bids to overcome a 2-7 defeat at Caulfield a fortnight ago.

Neasham's assistant Todd Pollard told "He seems to handle this track a lot better than Caulfield and many people say that too when you come from Sydney.

"He seems to be going a lot better than what he was going into the last start in terms of his final piece of work."

Zaaki: tops the market for Saturday's Ladbrokes Cox Plate

Talented three-year-old Anamoe will aim to provide Godolphin with a first win in the 1m2f contest, also attempting to become the first three-year-old in 37 years to follow up a Caulfield Guineas triumph in the Cox Plate.

Trainer James Cummings said: "Now he's had three very convincing runs as a spring three-year-old, he looks ready to step up against the older horses in a high-pressure environment.

"We’ve got him very fit and very well prepared and in a position to do his absolute best."

Chris Waller, who memorably sent out Winx to win the Cox Plate in four consecutive years, relies on admirable stalwart Verry Elleegant this time. The seven-year-old needs to bounce back from being turned over as 11-10 favourite in the Turnbull Stakes by Caulfield Cup hero Incentivise last time.

"We’ve just found that she was a bit flat," said Waller. "Soundness was good but her appetite was a bit down on what it should be. Since then everything is back to normal."

Gold Trip, fourth to Sottsass in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe when trained by Fabrice Chappet, has been ruled of the race after failing a veterinary test.

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He seems to have taken his journey and preparation well ahead of the race so we're looking forward to seeing how he gets on
E.W. Terms