Winx cut for Cox Plate glory

Star Australian mare Winx remains a hot favourite for the William Hill Cox Plate after drawing stall three on Tuesday.

Hugh Bowman riding Winx during Breakfast with the Best at Moonee Valley

Chris Waller's five-year-old has carried all before her, winning her last 12 starts which included a stunning four and three quarter length success in last year's Cox Plate in which Highland Reel was third.

She was the second horse drawn, allowing connections the perfect opportunity to secure the box they wanted although Waller had earlier said that stall four, which had already been allocated to Happy Clapper, would be his preferred choice.

Second favourite Hartnell was the third-last drawn in the field of 10, leaving the Godolphin team to select seven.

Asked whether he was concerned whether Winx had drawn an inside berth, trainer John O'Shea replied; "I'm concerned she is in the race."

Andre Fabre's Vadamos will start on Winx's immediate inside, breaking from two. Hong Kong-based Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira is due to ride but a replacement may need to be found due to an impending typhoon which may prevent him from flying to Melbourne later in the week.

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Winx's jockey Hugh Bowman noted that there is no guaranteed leader in the 10-strong field which could present him with a different challenge to 12 months ago.

"It is a different race to last year, we had the assistance of The Cleaner and that guaranteed good speed," he told www.racing.com.

"Good speed ensures that everyone gets in to a position but with no natural leader in the race, it could possibly be run at a slower tempo, which brings the tactics in to play.

"But all that aside, I'll leave the speed maps and all that to the geniuses, I'll just worry about my mare and focus on her to get the job done."

Lucia Valentina and Happy Trails didn't gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday with both heading to Sandown instead.

Lucia Valentina will break from nine and trainer Kris Lees was delighted to see rain falling on Tuesday and is hopeful more will come before Saturday.

"She worked on a wet track at Sandown this morning and she was very sharp," he said. "It would be nice if the Cox Plate was on that type of ground," he said.

"It [the draw] doesn't make much of a difference for her, we will be going back anyway, hoping there is speed on and she can finish off strongly," he added.

Winx was trimmed by local layers following the draw and she is the 11/10 favourite with Sky Bet for Saturday's contest.

Sky Bet then bet: 9/4 Hartnell; 10/1 Vadamos; 12/1 Yankee Rose; 16s bar.

Read More at Sporting Life

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