Winx Draws Six For Cox Plate

Shortly after Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}) had wowed an early morning crowd at Moonee Valley in her final work ahead of Saturday’s A$3-million G1 Cox Plate, the 6-year-old mare was assigned barrier six of nine for her attempt at a historic third win in Australia’s weight for age championship. At a special ceremony at Moonee Valley, co-owner Peter Tighe picked six for the overwhelming A$0.18 favourite after two, three, four and five were already chosen.

“I’m certainly feeling more comfortable after this morning,” jockey Hugh Bowman told after the draw. “But I’m not going to fall into the trap of not having a healthy respect for my rivals. It’s a horse race and anything can happen.”

Those rivals include last-out G1 Caulfield S. winner Gailo Chop (Fr) (Deportivo {GB}), who drew four, and international raider Folkswood (GB) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}), the Listed Cranbourne Cup winner who is one to the inside of Winx in barrier five for Charlie Appleby and red-hot rider Kerrin McEvoy. This season’s G1 Makybe Diva S. winner Humidor (Aus) (Teofilo {Ire}) will break from barrier eight.

Speaking live on after Winx’s workout, trainer Chris Waller said, “I’m very happy. The key for this morning was to go not too fast and not too slow, just enough to stimulate her, get her blood working. We don’t want anything to go wrong this late stage in her campaign and by overworking a horse you can risk that, but at the same time you still need to keep their blood stimulated. It’s so important for them to do a good piece of work this morning, and then the last four days you just have to keep the horse in their calm frame of mind, because after this morning the job is basically done.”

Hundreds of observers turned out to see Winx work, but Waller said the atmosphere was much different than raceday.

“As she came up the straight you could have heard a pin drop,” he said. “It was quite an eerie feeling. I was sort of thinking last night I wonder what people are going to do when she goes onto the track. Are they going to upset her? Are they going to clap when she comes up the straight? But people were very polite which was fantastic as it was a very serious piece of work this morning.”

Winx will on Saturday attempt to become just the second horse to win three Cox Plates, joining Kingston Town (1980 to 1982). A win on Saturday, which would be her 22nd straight, would also equal Black Caviar’s tally of Group 1 wins (15).

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