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Trainer Chris Waller believes he owes it to the world to show off superlative mare Winx overseas in 2018 with England calling for champion, meaning this year’s Ladbrokes Cox Plate could see Melbourne race fans bid farewell to the Hall of Famer.
Winx made history last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival when successfully defending her Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) title at Moonee Valley by a record-breaking eight length margin over the always brave Hartnell.
A shot at joining Kingston Town (1980-83) on three Cox Plate triumphs calls for the Street Cry six-year-old this year with Winx on track for the October 28 classic.
It is unlikely that the 12-time Group 1 winner will go into the race via the same lead-up as 12 months ago however.
In 2016 Waller took Winx into the Cox Plate field via a Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) win in Melbourne.
This year plans are to keep her to a solely Sydney-based campaign up until Cox Plate Day.
She has already won both her starts this time in at Royal Randwick, albeit in two nail-biting efforts that saw her tested more than punters would have liked.
This weekend she looks to secure her 20th turf triumph on the trot in the Group 1 $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) and all reports from the Waller camp have been positive.
She is odds-on at $1.09 in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to salute from barrier one in a race featuring the likes of Happy Clapper and the horse she was made to chase down in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) a fortnight back, Red Excitement.
After that the boosted prize money on offer for the Group 3 $500,000 Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick on The Everest Day (October 14) is likely to see Winx remain in her home state leading up to the Cox Plate.
Waller confirmed the 2017 Cox Plate would be the grand final run of the year for Winx, who he will then bring back next year for a Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival bid.
The reigning Australian Horse of the Year is then set to hit the international stage with the riches at Royal Ascot in the UK during our winter on the agenda.
“I would say one possibly two more in Sydney and then down to Melbourne for her grand final which is the Cox Plate,” Waller told 2GB on Friday morning.
“And then after that I would say she’d come back in the autumn – all going well – and have a few runs in Sydney then we probably owe it to the world to take her over there and have a shot in England.”
Possible England targets for Winx next year include the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m).
Futures Cox Plate betting for 2017 at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au meanwhile have Winx at $1.50 for the win with Hartnell ($17), who could avoid the clash in favour of the Caulfield Cup over 2400m the week before, the next best in the markets.
To back Winx next race and over the coming weeks at the best spring racing odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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