Star Winx draws three for Cox Plate showdown

Winx floated around Moonee Valley once again on Tuesday morning

PICTURE: Getty Images Star Winx draws three for Cox Plate showdown
By Mark Scully in melbourne 7:00aM 18 OCT 2016

WINX will jump from stall three in a field of ten as she bids to land back-to-back renewals of the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

The superstar mare put the finishing touches on her preparation with a gallop around the tight Moonee Valley circuit at the track's Breakfast With The Best event on Tuesday morning, before the draw for the big race took place.

"She didn't go out to do a whole lot this morning, it was just to bring her out to release some nervous energy in her and me," said jockey Hugh Bowman.

"She loves it around here and seems to enjoy the shape of the track. She's a quality horse and on this smaller track, you can really get a sense of how well she moves and how strong she is."

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The race is being billed as a match between Winx and emerging star Hartnell, whose form has reached new levels since he was comfortably held in fifth by Winx in last year's renewal.

The former Mark Johnston inmate was handed stall seven at Tuesday's draw and jockey James McDonald is satisfied Hartnell can produce his best from that position.

"I didn't want to be drawn inside of five, so seven is fine," he said. "Five would have been ideal but seven gives me space and options, so it's up to Hartnell now.

"He's improved massively since las year and his results are speaking for themselves. He hasn't taken on Winx for a while now, so it is going to be an intriguing clash."

French raider Vadamos, meanwhile, was drawn in stall two.

Stellar field for Manikato Stakes

The Cox Plate comes after what looks set to be a thrilling renewal of the Manikato Stakes at the same venue under the floodlights on Friday night, with Chautauqua bidding to defend his crown.

Only one of the 11 runners in the field, Fell Swoop, is not a Group 1 winner and Chautauqua will have to navigate his way from the potentially tricky stall one if he is to come out on top.

The veteran star Buffering is right next door in two, with Gai Waterhouse's English in nine and three-year-old Capitalist, the Golden Slipper winner, in six.

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