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Chris Waller’s magnificent mare Winx did what her odds-on price suggested she would and more at Moonee Valley going back-to-back in the Australasian weight-for-age championship with an absolute demolition job in the Cox Plate 2016.
Twelve months ago the daughter of Street Cry annihilated her rivals with a 4.75 length win in the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) and this spring she returned to defend her crown in even more emphatic fashion.
For the first time since So You Think (2009-10), Winx scored successive editions of the major joining Hall of Famers Sunline (1999-2000) and Flight (1945-46) as multiple Cox Plate winning mares.
It will go down in history as the most incredible Cox Plate win as Winx destroyed all behind her by a minimum margin of eight lengths.
“It’s quite unbelievable,” an emotional Waller said.
“Obviously I thought she could win, but not like that.”
The Cox Plate 2016 was spruiked as a showdown between Australia’s Racehorse of the Year Winx and the John O’Shea-trained Hartnell, out to improve on his fifth in the classic last year.
At the 600m the two champions were side-by-side, but it only took the blink of an eye for Winx to head him around the home turn and hit the straight in front.
Hugh Bowman let her go forward and Winx simply exploded, flying home to win by that ridiculous margin to join the greats.
The filly Yankee Rose finished off the Cox Plate trifecta in third, becoming the third filly from the five that have run in the race since 1990 to finish in the money.
“What can I add to that? Honesty she’s just given us all just such an amazing ride,” Bowman said post-win.
“I’m a sports fanatic and I’ve grown up watching champions in all sports….I’m lost for words to be honest.
“To ride a horse like this and come out on the track and have the crowd cheer you onto the track, I was really moved by that.
“I’ve had an in and out afternoon…but to be able to produce a ride that this mare’s worthy of today gives me so much pride.
“It’s not me, it’s the whole team, it’s the Chris Waller stable.
“I just can’t belive it. It’s just such an amazing experience.”
Posting her 13th consecutive win, the five-year-old is now a nine-time Group 1 winner and the Cox Plate prize money boosted her overall career earnings up over $9.2 million.
After beating home her two rivals in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m) last start, Winx became the first to complete the double with the Cox Plate result since Ocean Park (2012).
Winx had the ideal lead-up and preparation and her $1.80 start price reflected that, making her the shortest-priced Cox Plate winner since So You Think ($1.50 in 2010) for his second.
She jumped well from barrier three, settling nicely fifth on the outside of the David Vandyke-trained Yankee Rose who came off a win in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in Sydney.
The Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart led the Cox Plate field around early, despite talks he would be ridden quietly after being chased down in the Ladbrokes Classic.
He led early before the French raider Vadamos took up running, Black Heart Bart settling second from Hartnell in third.
Into the back replacement jockey Mark Zahra upped the tempo on Vadamos who raced out to a five length lead with 1000m to go.
At the 800m Winx moved up to sit beside Hartnell and it seemed it would be the two best in the race battling it out.
In the end it was all Winx as she left them all in her wake to become the best Cox Plate winner in history and the 13th to take it out more than once.
“364 days has gone into today, it’s not easy,” Waller said.
“Once she started racing, she was pretty special, but who would think it would all come to this?
“You’re looking for Hartnell, you’re looking for our run to end, you’re looking for others in the pack.
“So you never expect to win like that, you’re always expecting the unexpected.”
The Cox Plate winning time of 2:06.35 was the slowest since Maldivian won in 2:06.9 in 2008 because of the Soft-rated going.
Where to next with Winx is the next question being asked, along with whether she is now officially a better mare than the undefeated Black Caviar.
There’s a chance she will head overseas to Europe next year, as well as trying to emulate Kingston Town (1980-82) to win three straight editions of the Cox Plate, but first the $2 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 5 at weight-for-age is on the cards.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on Winx and in the meantime access the best spring racing odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au who paid Enhanced Odds on the Cox Plate.
2016 Cox Plate Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 9 – 22/10/2016
|1||8||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||–||3||57kg||$1.80F|
|2||3||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||8L||7||59kg||$5|
|3||10||YANKEE ROSE||David Vandyke||Dean Yendall||8.75L||1||47.5kg||$13|
|4||6||VADAMOS (FR)||Andre Fabre||Mark Zahra||9.75L||2||59kg||$21|
|5||7||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||Stephen Baster||10.5L||5||59kg||$101|
|6||5||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Brenton Avdulla||11L||4||59kg||$51|
|7||9||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Kerrin McEvoy||12.25L||9||57kg||$16|
|8||4||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||Dwayne Dunn||12.45L||8||59kg||$31|
|9||2||BLACK HEART BART||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||13.2L||6||59kg||$15|
|10||1||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Ben Melham||14.45L||10||59kg||$101|
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