Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
The line-up of hoops set to take on the dual defending champion Winx in Saturday week’s Cox Plate 2017 is starting to take shape with Dean Yendall locked in for the ride on three-year-old Royal Symphony.
The Chris Waller-trained Street Cry mare Winx is out to emulate Kingston Town with three straight wins in the weight-for-age classic when the six-year-old takes to the Moonee Valley track on October 28 in the Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
Her two past Cox Plate victories were emphatic, the first in 2015 seeing her defeat Criterion by four and three-quarter lengths before the historic eight length winning margin she held over Hartnell in 2016.
After blitzing her Flemington debut with a six and a half length romp home in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on October 7 defeating Caulfield Cup hopefuls Ventura Storm (2nd) and Humidor (3rd), Winx will be seeking her incredible 22nd consecutive turf triumph in the Cox Plate.
No surprises the $13.77 million earner, who will overtake Makybe Diva ($14.52 million) at the top of the all-time Australian Racehorse Prize Money Earners’ list with a third Cox Plate trophy, dominates the markets.
Winx is $1.20 in the pre-field Cox Plate odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au and her regular partner in crime Hugh Bowman will again be on board.
Key 2017 Cox Plate Jockeys
- Hugh Bowman (Winx)
- Dean Yendall (Royal Symphony)
- Damien Oliver (Happy Clapper)
- Kerrin McEvoy (Folkswood)
Confirmed as a Cox Plate contender by trainer Tony McEvoy this week, a jockey has now also been locked in for Domesday colt Royal Symphony.
Dwayne Dunn has ridden the youngster in all six of his career starts to date netting four wins before fourth place finishes as the beaten favourite in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Despite the Caulfield Guineas loss, where Royal Symphony crossed two and a quarter-lengths back from the $101 shock winner Mighty Boss, McEvoy has opted to press onto the Cox Plate clash with Winx.
Out to be the first three-year-old Cox Plate winner since Shamus Award ($21 in 2013), Royal Symphony carries just 49.5kg at WFA and lightweight hoop Yendall has picked up the ride chasing his fourth career Group 1 winning mount.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy, nephew of Royal Symphony’s trainer who prepared the 2003 Cox Plate winner Fields Of Omagh, was originally offered the ride but instead partners with Godolphin in the race.
McEvoy will be on the powerhouse stable’s international raider, the Charlie Appleby-trained Folkswood, in the Cox Plate field.
Exceed And Excel gelding Folkswood put his Cox Plate credentials forward winning the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) first-up last Sunday by nearly three lengths with McEvoy aboard.
Royal Symphony is currently listed at the same Cox Plate price Shamus Award saluted at to break his maiden status, paying $21 to score the upset.
Equal in Cox Plate futures betting is the Patrick Webster-trained Happy Clapper who comes off a shock loss when runner-up as the beaten odds-on favourite in last Saturday’s Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) behind Classic Uniform at Royal Randwick.
The seven-year-old son of Teofilo won the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) before that, one run after his second to Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
Happy Clapper contested last year’s Cox Plate finishing sixth as an $81 roughie with Brenton Avdulla aboard, but this season Damien Oliver will jump aboard for the tough assignment.
Oliver has ridden two previous Cox Plate champions (since 1983) aboard the Bart Cummings-trained mare Dane Ripper (1997) and the Fred Kersley-trained Northerly (2001).
Northerly returned in 2002 to successfully secure a second Cox Plate win with Patrick Payne aboard.
Cox Plate Day will mark Oliver’s first ride on Happy Clapper.
Folkswood meanwhile is into $17 in Cox Plate betting, equal with Darren Weir’s Ladbrokes Stakes winner Gailo Chop.
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