With 18 declarations for the 14 spots available, some connections were always going to be disappointed, and despite some intense last-minute lobbying from the Ciaron Maher stable, Humidor was named as first emergency.
But it was to no avail. The others to miss out was unlucky Caulfield Cup runner Mr Quickie as second emergency, Gailo Chop in third and Dream Castle, Godolphin’s second runner, the fourth emergency.
The Moonee Valley committee debated long and hard about who to include and who to leave out before announcing the field just after 9 am.
Chairman Don Casboult said: “This is the first time in many years we have had so many nominations.
“We have had 19 accept. We have a maximum field of 14, it’s been a very challenging morning in selecting the field.
“Our overarching objective is to assemble the best quality field … on our judgment of the best current racing form.”
That meant that the grizzled veteran Black Heart Bart, a rejuvenated nine-year-old whose connections paid the $200,000 late entry fee run, got his place in the field.
The committee opted to include two overseas horses that have not won a Group 1 race – the Kiwi-trained Te Akau Shark and the Aidan O’Brien-prepared Magic Wand – in the field at the expense of Humidor, Gailo Chop and Mr Quickie, three locals who all are Group 1 winners in this country.
$5m Cox Plate (2040m) – The Valley, Saturday
1. BLACK HEART BART (Lindsey Smith), B.Rawiller (11), 59kg
2. AVILIUS (James Cummings), K.McEvoy (7), 59kg
3. KLUGER (Tomokazu Takano), T.Berry (9), 59kg
4. HARLEM (David Hayes, Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig), D.Dunn (2), 59k
5. HOMESMAN (Liam Howley), B.Melham (16), 59kg
6. KINGS WILL DREAM (Chris Waller), H.Bowman (17), 59kg
7. TE AKAU SHARK (Jamie Richards), O.Bosson (18), 59kg
8. DANCETERIA (David Menuisier), J.Spencer (10), 59kg
9. LYS GRACIEUX (Yoshito Yahagi), D.Lane (15), 57kg
10. MAGIC WAND (Aidan O’Brien), R.Moore (3), 57kg
11. CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (D.Hayes, B.Hayes & T.Dabernig), M.Zahra (8), 56.5kg
12. MYSTIC JOURNEY (Adam Trinder), A.Darmanin (6), 55.5kg
13. VERRY ELLEEGANT (Chris Waller), J.McDonald (5), 55.5kg
14. CASTELVECCHIO (Richard Litt), C.Williams (4), 49.5kg
– – – Emergencies – – –
15. HUMIDOR (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace), (14), 59kg
16. MR QUICKIE (Phillip Stokes), G.Boss (12), 57.5kg
17. GAILO CHOP (Matthew Williams), D.Oliver (1), 59kg
18. DREAM CASTLE (Saeed bin Suroor), P.Cosgrave (13), 59kg