This weekend, Breeders’ Cup qualifier Winx will take on a talented field in the 94th edition of the AUD $ 3 million ($ 2.3 million) W.S. Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Renowned as one of the world’s great 10-furlong races and Australia’s second richest weight-for-age race, the Cox Plate will command the attention of racing fans, eager to see if Winx will triumph again on Saturday, Oct. 22, with races at Moonee stating at 5:10 p.m. Melbourne time (2.10 a.m. EDT, or 11.10 p.m. PST on Friday, Oct. 21).
Winx is currently rated by Longines as the fourth best horse in the world (127) behind American stars California Chrome (133) and Arrogate (129). Should she win this race by a margin like last year, she would improve her rating and challenge America’s greatest thoroughbreds for the title of the best horse in the world. While it appears that history could repeat itself for Winx with another Cox Plate victory, the 2016 Plate boasts an intriguing field, suggesting that the competition could be fiercer this year.
In 2015 Winx was $ 4.60 favorite for the Cox Plate thanks to an outstanding campaign that gained momentum at the Queensland Winter Carnival. At Moonee Valley, she dashed for the finish line in a record-breaking 2:02.98, smashing the record previously set by Might And Power. Winx maintained a railing position early in the race but at the home turn burst to the front of a top quality field of domestic and international G1 contenders and won with 4-3/4 lengths ahead of Criterion.
The lineup for the 2016 Cox Plate includes Happy Trails, Black Heart Bart, Happy Clapper, and Awesome Rock. However, this year’s race will likely be a two-horse race between Winx and Hartnell. They have been in such a furious rally this season that Saturday’s race seems certain to revolve around them.
After a stellar 2015 season, the Chris Waller-trained Winx came to this year’s Spring Racing Carnival with lots of hype, but she has lived up to it. After winning the G1 Caulfield Stakes and Warwick Stakes, Winx now boasts 12 straight wins, and she even secured a starting position in the Breeders’ Cup Mile next month by winning the G1 Star Doncaster Handicap in April 2015.
Meanwhile, Hartnell, the five-year-old gelding from the globally-renowned Godolphin stable in Dubai, has been pulling in his own string of wins in the Chelmsford Stakes, Hill Stakes and Turnbull Stakes by a combined margin of 17½ lengths. Still, Hartnell has never been able to beat Winx when they’ve gone head-to-head. Winx beat Hartnell by 10 lengths in the 2015 Cox Plate and by five lengths in this year’s Chipping Norton Stakes. The duo also battled it out in the 2016 Warwick Stakes, where Hartnell finished 3.5 lengths behind the Australian champion.
While he’s suffered defeat from Winx, Hartnell’s recent races show that he’s in career-best form and will challenge Winx. The five-year-old gelding also earned ratings of 108, 107 and 111 following his Chelmsford, Hill and Turnbull Stakes wins. When he worked out for the Plate at Moonee Valley, Hartnell completed over 6 furlongs in 1:41.13 with his last furlong in 26.16s. He has already proven that he has the stamina to take on a 9 furlong race and is likely to start favorite in the Emirates Melbourne Cup over 2 miles
Who could upset the Winx-Hartnell two-horse race? French star Vadamos has been dubbed the Cox Plate’s “X-factor”. The last-start winner of the G1 Moulin De Longchamp at Chantilly, Vandaros could well provide an intriguing twist to Saturday’s showdown.
Winx remains the best bet to win the 2016 Cox Plate, but she will not claim this victory without stiff competition from Hartnell and even Vadamos. To discover who will triumph, North American race fans can stream the 2016 Cox Plate live at advance deposit wagering sites TVG,TwinSpires, Xpressbet, BetAmerica, WatchandWager, and NYRA Rewards. Free form guides and betting tips are also available at Sky Racing World’s site skyracingworld.com.
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South American racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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