Te Akau Shark used up all his luck getting into Saturday’s $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) field because he had none reserved for the barrier draw.
The Jamie Richards-trained five-year-old gelding has won five of his nine starts but is winless at Group 1 level.
Yet his last-start second in the G1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 5 was enough to propel him into the field ahead of Humidor who has been placed in the past two Cox Plates.
But when the time came to selecting barriers, Te Akau Shark’s name was last out of the barrel with the outside barrier of 18 only left. Te Akau Shark will move into gate 14 after the removal of emergencies.
“We were struggling to make the field and then they give us the outside barrier,” Richards said, struggling to hide his disappointment with a sullen facial expression.
“It makes things very difficult, especially his first time at weight-for-age as well. He’s going to have to be at his ultimate best we’ve ever seen.
“We’ll do our best. We’ll have a nice tail to follow in the Japanese mare (Lys Gracieux) anyhow.
“The horse worked well here this morning, he appreciates a bit of room and usually gets back.
“I think around The Valley a little bit of room will suit him and hopefully gain a bit of momentum down the side.”
Te Akau Shark is a $21 chance to win the Cox Plate with BetEasy with Lys Gracieux the $3.40 favourite