10/24/2012 2:56PM

Australia: Pierro, Green Moon head Cox Plate

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Led by the outstanding 3-year-old Pierro and the improving older horse Green Moon, Saturday’s $3 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Australia has drawn an outstanding field of 14 in the country’s weight-for-age championship.

Run over about 1 1/4 miles on turf, the Group 1 Cox Plate could produce runners for the two-mile Melbourne Cup on Nov. 6. Of the 14 entrants in the Cox Plate, 10 have won Group 1 races.

Pierro, a winner of 7 of 8 starts, is one of three 3-year-olds in the field. Pierro won his first seven starts, but was second to All Too Hard in the Caulfield Guineas on Oct. 13. As of Wednesday, Pierro was the 3-1 favorite for the Cox Plate. He will carry 109 pounds, 21 fewer than the older horses. All Too Hard also is part of the Cox Plate field.

Green Moon was the 7-2 second choice in future-book betting. A 5-year-old Irish-bred by Montjeu, Green Moon won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on Oct. 6. He was second in the prestigious Caulfield Cup in 2011.

There will be support for Ocean Park, a 4-year-old New Zealand-bred colt by Thorn Park. Ocean Park has won his last three starts, all at the Group 1 level since early September – the Makfi Challenge Stakes in New Zealand and the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes in Australia.

The Cox Plate is part of a nine-race program that includes six group stakes.