The Cox Plate 2016 field is beginning to take shape with the reigning champion Winx headlining the 29 third acceptances for the Moonee Valley classic running on Saturday October 22.
Up from 24 hopefuls at the same stage last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) is on track to provide the punters with a star-studded field for Australasia’s weight-for-age classic.
Last year Winx won the race in devastating style posting nearly five lengths on her closes rival Criterion.
Since crowned Australia’s Racehorse of the Year, the daughter of Street Cry is doing everything right to suggest she can go back-to-back having won her past 11 races on the trot.
The latest was in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) in Sydney, and she’ll be out to make it a dozen straight this weekend in Melbourne’s Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in a final Cox Plate tune-up.
Waller has also paid the third acceptance fee for Preferment, who ran ninth to his star stablemate in the race last year and who is also still entered for the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup on either side of the Caulfield Cup.
Winx is already the odds-on favourite in pre-field Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at a current post-third acceptance quote of $1.95.
The only other runner under double-figures in the all-in Cox Plate odds and perhaps the sole chance to challenge Winx for the win is Hartnell ($3.80).
The John O’Shea-trained Authorized six-year-old featured in the Caulfield Cup third acceptances and Melbourne Cup first declarations, connections keeping spring options open after the horse’s runaway Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) victory last Sunday at Flemington.
O’Shea also has last Saturday’s narrow Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) winner Hauraki in the mix, the Reset five-year-old having run second to Winx in the George Main Stakes in his other latest start.
The international Cox Plate contingent is down to just two possible runners with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Sir Isaac Newton and Andre Fabre’s Group 1 winning French raider Vadamos.
O’Brien prepared the last Cox Plate winning international two years ago with the then Irish-trained Adelaide (2014), Sir Isaac Newton only rated a $26 chance to get the job done this season.
Vadamos is higher up the markets at $15 after the Monsun stallion’s latest elite level win back home over the mile in France on September 11.
Along with Winx the best fancied mare still in Cox Plate calculations is the Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina ($15), the Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner last seen running third in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
The Underwood Stakes winner on September 24 was the Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart, the ultra-consistent galloper at $17 to win the Cox Plate.
He has an earlier clash with Winx this weekend in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes where he sees the distance for the first time on the back of his 2.5 length Underwood success.
Weir has also accepted for his Makybe Diva Stakes champ Palentino and former Japanese-trained Tosen Stardom.
The best of the 29 three-year-olds out to be the first youngster to take out the Cox Plate since Shamus Award (2013) include the David Vandyke-trained filly Yankee Rose who is nominated for a Sydney run in this Saturday’s Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (1600m) and Sacred Elixir running in Melbourne in this weekend’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Final 2016 Cox Plate acceptances revealing the field close at 8:30am (local time) on Tuesday October 18.
Before then check out the third declarations below and the updated markets open on all the Spring Group 1 feature races now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).
2016 Cox Plate Third Acceptances
Moonee Valley Racecourse – 22/10/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Weight|
|1||1x0420x015||AWESOME ROCK||H||5||Leon & Troy Corstens||59kg|
|2||x21212x121||BLACK HEART BART||G||6||Darren Weir||59kg|
|3||217x20x983||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||H||7||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||59kg|
|4||0069x031x2||GALLANTE (IRE)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||59kg|
|5||1x4523x564||HAPPY CLAPPER||G||6||Patrick Webster||59kg|
|6||08x0775x85||HAPPY TRAILS||G||9||Paul Beshara||59kg|
|7||650x5x2111||HARTNELL (GB)||G||6||John O’Shea||59kg|
|9||5x2018x732||HE OR SHE||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||59kg|
|10||7x4110x454||PREFERMENT (NZ)||H||5||Chris Waller||59kg|
|11||x4x2311440||SIR ISAAC NEWTON (GB)||H||5||Aidan O’Brien||59kg|
|12||x21377x056||THE CLEANER||G||9||Peter Gelagotis||59kg|
|13||610x5212x6||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||H||7||Robert Hickmott||59kg|
|14||x0x51709x4||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||H||6||Darren Weir||59kg|
|15||10×2014121||VADAMOS (FR)||H||6||Andre Fabre||59kg|
|16||8x41211x11||HE’S OUR ROKKII (NZ)||G||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||57.5kg|
|19||8915x41x43||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||M||6||Kris Lees||57kg|
|20||0x3419x103||MISS ROSE DE LAGO||M||6||Danny O’Brien||57kg|
|23||53x110x224||THAMES COURT||M||4||David Brideoake||55.5kg|
|24||5x13x142||DIVINE PROPHET||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||49.5kg|
|25||216x161x1||SACRED ELIXIR (NZ)||G||3||Tony Pike||49.5kg|
|26||1216×454||SEABURGE||C||3||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||49.5kg|
|27||1×16||SWEAR||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||49.5kg|
|29||11x21x62||YANKEE ROSE||F||3||David Vandyke||47.5kg|