Zac Purton, Hong Kong's reigning premier jockey, can take a step closer to creating Australian racing history if he wins Saturday's A$3 million G1 Cox Plate aboard Sacred Falls at Moonee Valley. 

No jockey has won Melbourne's big three races - the Cox Plate and the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups - in the same year but Purton's prospects look bright fresh from taking the G1 Caulfield Cup last Saturday on Japanese visitor Admire Rakti.

He returns this Saturday to partner the Chris Waller trained five-year-old Sacred Falls - the second favourite in early markets - on whom he's already won two Group1 races this year, the Doncaster Handicap and George Main Stakes. 

Standing in his way will be the favourite Fawkner, who provides major owner Lloyd Williams with a good chance to win his first Cox Plate, along with three international raiders headed by Aidan O'Brien's Adelaide and a trio of three-year-olds who hope to emulate Shamus Award who won the race, at three, last year. 

Sacred Falls has drawn gate nine which trainer Waller described as “no problem” while Fawkner, who can race handy, is ideally drawn in four. O’Brien's Adelaide didn't fare so well and will jump from 13 while the likely leader The Cleaner has drawn the outside of the 14 runners. 

“He’s drawn well and the horse is in fantastic order,” Nick Williams, son of the owner,  said of Fawkner while Tom Magnier, representing the owners of Adelaide which include his family, said: “It’s a tough task now, but if you are not in it, you can’t win it.”

Sacred Falls has not won in three attempts at Saturday's distance of 2040 metres but has twice run second to It's A Dundeel at Group 1 level over the trip and Purton is confident he can “'go close” in the Cox Plate. 

“It's fair to say the 2000m is about his limit distance wise but Moonee Valley suits him, he was very good there on Cox Plate day last year and with a better barrier he would have won the G1 Caulfield Stakes at the 2000 metres two weeks ago,” Purton said.

On that occasion, Scared Falls drew outside of the 12 runners and settled last before running the quickest last 600m split to be beaten 2.45 lengths into fourth place behind Fawkner. “Saturday will really be about him being a touch closer in the race and getting the right run,” Purton said. 

Purton will be hoping for better luck than Craig Williams who came closest to winning the three major races in 2011. Williams won the Caulfield Cup on Southern Speed and the Cox Plate on Pinker Pinker but missed the G1 Melbourne Cup winning ride on Dunaden after being suspended on race eve.

Williams, this Saturday, rides the Marco Botti trained Guest Of Honour who joins the much travelled Adelaide and Side Glance in representing the internationals. 

The Andrew Balding trained Side Glance was a creditable sixth, with Williams aboard, in the 2013 Cox Plate at his first Australian start. Since then he's raced in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, the UK and USA and this year has had the benefit of a lead up run in Australia, which was his Caulfield Stakes third placing. 

That was preceded by a same placed finish in the G1 Arlington Million, in Chicago, on the same day which Adelaide won the G1 Secretariat Stakes. Adelaide is a northern hemisphere three-year-old but considered a four-year-old in Australia and carries 123lb under the WFA conditions. 
He is six months older, on average, than the southern hemisphere three-year-olds and therefore carries more weight under the weight-for-age scale. The local three-year-olds contesting the Cox Plate are Godolphin's Sweynesse and the Gai Waterhouse pair Almalad and Wandjina. Wandjina, last start, finished third in the G1 Caulfield Guineas as did last year's Cox Plate winner Shamus Award. 

Adding to the Cox Plate intrigue is the appearance of The Cleaner, who is prepared by little known Tasmanian trainer Mick Burles, and who has developed a cult following after three successive front-running wins. He is sure to set a genuine tempo in front despite drawing the outside barrier.  (HKJC, Hong Kong)