Homesman books Cox Plate spot

Homesman has won a golden ticket into the Cox Plate courtesy of a comprehensive win in the Feehan Stakes at The Valley.

The winner of Saturday’s Group Two race bypasses the ballot into next month’s $5 million Cox Plate at The Valley.

Placed second in the weight-for-age race 12 months ago, Homesman was handled perfectly by Ben Melham, tracking the leader Trap For Fools ahead of taking over on the home turn and going on to record a 2-1/2 length win.

Homesman was narrowly touched out by Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup last year and Saturday’s outing was his first race since.

Sent off the $5 second favourite, Homesman defeated Mahamedeis ($26) with Best Of Days ($7.50) a nose away third.

Nick Williams, who shares in the ownership of the gelding with his father Lloyd, along with a number of other partners, said the 2019 Cox Platewas firmly on Homesman’s agenda.

“He was terrific today and there’s nothing in racing that would mean more to us than to get our hands on a Cox Plate,” Williams said.

“We’ve tried many times and come up short, but he seems to be heading in the right way.”

Williams said Homesman would follow a similar campaign to 12 months ago, the one deviation being running in the Cox Plate instead of the 2019 Caulfield Cup.

“He won the Underwood last year en-route to the Caulfield Cup and we ran him in the Caulfield Cupbecause he was very well in at the weights,” Williams said.

“Since we’ve had him in this time, the Cox Plate has been his aim, and will be his aim.

“We’ll look to go on to the Underwood Stakes, and defend it, and then onto Caulfield Stakesand then back to The Valley for the Cox Plate.

“We’ve got to win one here before they change this iconic track.”

Melham thinks the Cox Plate 2019could be within Homesman’s reach saying the gelding is possibly more seasoned this time around.

The jockey was taken by the win of Homesman, especially his turn of foot over what Melham described as an unsuitable journey.

“He’s a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m), mile-and-a-half (2400m) horse for sure and is effective at both distances,” Melham said.

“There’s a big carrot here and he’s probably a genuine chance of being capable of winning a WFA Cox Plate.”

Peter Hall, rider of Trap For Falls, was charged with careless riding near the 1200m mark and issued an eight-meeting suspension.

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