While Friday in the U.S. is all about the beginning of Breeders’ Cup festivities, keep an eye Down Under as the likely favorites in the G1 $3 million Cox Plate are 5-year-old mare Princess Coup and 3-year-old filly Samantha Miss.
The tough and accomplished Princess Coup comes in off two G1 wins in New Zealand, both over last week’s G1 Caulfield Cup runner-up Nom du Jeu, so her form is certainly valid.
Samantha Miss, who upset 2-year-old champion colt Sebring in the G1 Champagne Stakes last campaign, will attempt to become the first 3-year-old filly since Surround in 1976 to win Australia’s premier weight-for-age race. She will carry virtually no weight here, as Jockey Glen Boss makes the 47.5 kg (105 pounds), but it will be her first attempt at the distance (10 furlongs) and first race against older horses.
Don’t be surprised if one of these girls—apropos as a contrast to the regressive American tendency to separate the sexes in horse racing (or at least make their championship races on a weekday)—defeats their male counterparts. It's not like it hasn't happened before. In just the past decade, the great New Zealand-mare Sunline won the 1999 Cox Plate, and then followed up that achievement with a repeat victory in 2000. And, of course, the phenomenal Aussie mare Makybe Diva won in 2005 (with Glen Boss up), on route to her third consecutive G1 Melbourne Cup victory.