All eyes will be on Moonee Valley on Saturday morning, as Winx makes her bid to win a fourth consecutive Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
The wonder-mare has often been accused of beating sub-standard rivals Down Under. But with the European-trained duo of Benbatl and Rostropovich set to line up, there’ll be no hiding place over 1m 2f this time around.
You can watch the action unfold live on At The Races from 7am on Saturday morning. And we’ve looked at the Group 1 contest below.
It’s impossible to argue with 28 consecutive wins, 22 of which have been at Group 1 level.
Winx’s quality of opponent has often been called into question, but with three Cox Plates already under her belt, she’s undoubtedly the one to beat.
Now the seven-year-old has to prove it against a smattering of decent quality opposition from Europe.
The main challenger to Winx shaped well on his Australian debut in the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield earlier this month.
Godolphin’s dart got up towards the end to edge out Blair House and claim a third Group 1 victory to go alongside one at Meydan and one at Munich.
She’s unbeaten over 1m 2f to boot, and with jockey Oisin Murphy handed a kind draw in stall three, he has every chance if Winx falls short.
Darren Weir’s runner is back for another go at the Cox Plate after pushing Winx all the way 12 months ago. The problem, is that may have been the gelding’s best chance.
His form in the run-up to this race has been solid if unspectacular, with a third to Benbatl in the Ladbrokes Stakes suggesting his chances are limited.
After going close several times in France, Avilius has taken to Australia like a duck to water. The four-year-old has won all four of his starts Down Under, with each one at a different distance.
He’ll be ridden quietly from stall one, although this trip may not be ideal preparation for his Melbourne Cup tilt in just under a fortnights time.
Ryan Moore will look to dictate the tempo for Aidan O’Brien’s runner, who was set alight far too early in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The trainer wouldn’t be here if he didn’t think the horse could win. He’ll need to manage the drop back in trip if he’s to mount a serious challenge.
Battled well to finish fifth after being handed a tough draw in the Ladbrokes Stakes.
He should get a kinder run here, but it’s difficult to see how he reverses form on three who opponents who’ve already had the beating of him.
It’s difficult to be enthused about a four-year-old who is nought from five in Australia; up against a favourite looking for a 23rd elite level triumph.
Did well after a tough start in the Ladbrokes Stakes and will be hoping for a strong gallop with blinkers applied for the first time.
The daughter of a previous Cox Plate winner but her winning form in New Zealand isn’t likely to match-up to the standard required here.
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