Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
There are nine weight-for-age hopefuls in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate 2017 field on Saturday but of course the Winx Factor makes it pretty had to back anything else in the classic.
There are still plenty of statistics and form facts to consider ahead of the Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley, where Winx looks to emulate Kingston Town from the early 1980s as the only other triple winner.
Cox Plate start time is 5:00pm (AEDT) running as Moonee Valley Race 9 on Saturday and the question of whether Winx will win her third has already been answered looking at the markets.
The latest Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Chris Waller’s 14-time Group 1 winning Hall of Famer at $1.16 and no favourite has jumped at such a short price since Phar Lap ($1.07 in 1931).
There is still a Cox Plate trifecta to tip however, the magnificent Winx has to beat something home!
In 2015 it was Criterion by four and three quarter lengths.
In 2016 it was Hartnell by a record eight lengths.
What horse runs second to Winx this year and by how many lengths?
Let our Cox Plate Horses: Back or Sack guide below help you out!
#1 HAPPY CLAPPER ($26)
He’s been against Winx five times before for five loses. Sure there were two seconds in the mix, but was thrashed in last year’s Cox Plate and is a genuine miler not 2000m plus horse. Was third in the Queen Elizabeth over the metres in 2016, but since then 1600m has been his go.
#2 GAILO CHOP ($20)
There are certainly claims to be made after the Darren Weir-trained import won the Ladbrokes Stakes over this distance defeating subsequent Caulfield Cup placegetter Johannes Vermeer. He’s on the up-and-up and has good form over 2000m. The Valley? That’s another story. Didn’t get close in the Cox Plate results (8th) in 2015 and won’t get close in 2017 either.
#3 HUMIDOR ($20)
Weir gives his Kiwi expat another go after the Caulfield Cup fifth last weekend. Was plenty of pre-race hype on the Winx v Humidor show in the Turnbull and that turned out to be a flop. He ran third over seven lengths beaten. Hasn’t seen The Valley, is on a quick back-up. Too many queries even with the blinkers going on.
#4 KASPERSKY ($101)
Happy to leave this international right out. Michelle Payne rides and she won the 2015 Melbourne Cup on 100/1 shot Prince Of Penzance. Won’t be anything similar here. Was a dud first-up effort in the Toorak Handicap (1600m), and yes he’s been okay in big European races, but yet to win over further than 1700m.
#5 FOLKSWOOD ($21)
Finally we get to a genuine place chance for the Cox Plate 2017! Liked the first-up Cranbourne Cup (2025m) win on debut down under a couple of weeks back. Had an emphatic margin to spare and jockey Kerrin McEvoy stays on. Good form at this distance, has broken the Australian maiden status, is fit and can run second if he gets around the tight circuit, which his last performance suggests he can.
#6 SEABURGE ($101)
It’s not all bad for Lindsay Park’s last minute inclusion. The four-year-old Sebring entire has barrier one and will appreciate that after barrier 12 in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield. Hasn’t done anything of note for a long time though and was thrashed in the Makybe Diva by Humidor (20.75L away 12th). Cannot see enough improvement from the 2016 Caulfield Guineas runner-up to suggest he’s back in form.
#7 HARDHAM ($151)
The $151 roughie in Cox Plate betting and is way overs for a place. There are a few real pretenders in this field, with or without Winx, but think out of the two backing-up from the Caulfield Cup this one is better value. Ran eighth, five lengths beaten, at the 2400m and comes back 400m. Won a Group 2 at this track / distance as a three-year-old in the autumn before the ATC Derby third. Gets blinkers on and if he handles WFA can surprise.
#8 WINX ($1.16)
What more can be said about this champion mare? She’s the best going around by miles and even $1.16 in betting for her to win her third Cox Plate trophy is generous. Absorbs the pressure, gets the space from barrier six, flies home with that explosive finish. Only question is by how many lengths? Can she double it again? 16 lengths let’s go Winx!
#9 ROYAL SYMPHONY ($16)
The only other horse the punters are giving any love to. The beaten Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas fancy (4th) was four-from-four before the Prelude (4th) then the Group 1. Up over this distance for the first time but gets weight relief flying on 49.5kg at WFA. Jockey Dean Yendall was third on the filly Yankee Rose in 2016 and is likely to snap-up another Cox Plate placing this weekend on the market mover.
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