2 am Eastern post time here in the United States. Led once again by the great race mare, Winx, the Cox Plate is a race worth staying up for late, or getting up very early to watch, depending on your habits. This year’s field will include a compact group of ten, with all eyes on the five-year-old daughter of Street Cry, who is currently riding the wave of 12 consecutive victories.
Currently rated as Australia’s best race horse, and tied for fourth on the planet in the World Thoroughbred Rankings put out by the IFHA and Longines, Winx will carry much more than her 127 world rating into Moonee Valley tomorrow. Trained by Chris Waller, and ridden by Hugh Bowman, Winx will be defending her crown in the Cox Plate. Last year, she may have well turned in her best performance ever, when she more than proved that she could handle the demands of ten furlongs against Australia’s best.
Now a winner of eight Group 1 races in total, the superstar mare has won all seven of her starts this year in commanding style. Able to drop down in sprints and excel, this year alone she has won in distances ranging from seven furlongs to ten. Most recently she proved a very popular, and much the best winner of the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes at the same distance as the Cox Plate.
Despite the fact that he has been defeated by Winx in all three of their previous meetings, the Godolphin owned Hartnell is considered a real threat to her long winning streak on Saturday. The clear second in Cox Plate wagering, the son of Authorized comes in off his own strong three race winning streak, which includes most recently an impressive victory in Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at the same distance he will find at Moonee Valley.
That easy win was flattered when the mare he beat that afternoon, Jameka, came right back to score in the Caulfield Cup. Like Winx, Hartnell was a Cox Plate participant last year, but could only manage a fifth place finish. The belief is that the five-year-old gelding is a better horse this year, and looks to be coming up to this in ideal form. As good as he may be, though, there is a reason that Winx is the reigning Queen of Australia Racing.
While the top two look like strictly the top two, the remainder of the 2016 Cox Plate field includes: Happy Trails, Black Heart Bart, Hauraki, Happy Clapper, Vadamos, Awesome Rock, Lucia Valentina, and Yankee Rose.