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Trainer Tony McEvoy is hoping ignorance is bliss saying no one was telling his gun three-year-old Royal Symphony that he was facing Winx in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate 2017 on Saturday.
Nine horses make-up this year’s Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) field, the line-up dominated by the Chris Waller-trained Winx chasing her third straight win in the classic.
The celebrated daughter of Street Cry has won her last 21 consecutive starts and will join Kingston Town should she pull off the Cox Plate three-peat as the only other triple champion of the weight-for-age showdown.
The updated Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au tell the story.
Winx is $1.16 to join Black Caviar with 15 Group 1 wins and that makes her the shortest-priced Cox Plate favourite since the great Phar Lap ($1.07 in 1931).
There are three equal $18 second elects chasing the upset win over Winx in the Cox Plate betting markets for Saturday, including McEvoy’s Domesday colt Royal Symphony.
The trainer’s nephew Kerrin McEvoy turned down the lightweight ride on Royal Symphony in the Cox Plate field, the young horse getting in on just 49.5kg.
Instead McEvoy stays on the Godolphin-raced visitor for Newmarket’s Charlie Appleby, Folkswood, impressed with the horse’s first-up win in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) last start.
“He skipped around the bend at Cranbourne which suggests he will handle Moonee Valley,” McEvoy told the media post-barrier draw on Tuesday morning.
Dean Yendall has picked up the Royal Symphony ride chasing another top three finish after his third aboard the filly Yankee Rose behind Winx (1st) and Hartnell (2nd) in last year’s Cox Plate trifecta.
Winx jumps from barrier six on Saturday, while Royal Symphony is drawn one on her outside in a Cox Plate barrier that has produced four winners (since 1983) most recently So You Think (2009).
So You Think took out that year’s Cox Plate as a three-year-old, returning in 2010 to go back-to-back as the $1.50 favourite.
The other most recent three-year-old Cox Plate winner Royal Symphony is out to emulate this weekend was the maiden Shamus Award (2013) who broke through with his first Group 1 success in the classic as a $21 roughie with apprentice Chad Schofield in the saddle.
Royal Symphony has had six starts to date, winning his opening four on the trot before back-to-back fourths at Caulfield in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Saturday marks his first look at further than a mile and McEvoy hopes that coming back from 56.5kg to 49.5kg can put his youngster in the mix for a place behind Winx.
“You have got to go out with a plan to win every race to win, we haven’t told Royal Symphony that Winx is in the race,” McEvoy said.
“He is ready to run a peak performance but whether that’s good enough I am unsure.”
To back Royal Symphony in the Cox Plate 2017 placings at the best spring racing odds online visit Ladbrokes.com.au.
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