The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Last Saturday’s Caulfield Cup winning trainer and owner David Hayes has described the 2017 Cox Plate on Saturday as “a good year to watch and cheer for Winx”.
Hayes, in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, made history in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last Saturday taking out the mile-and-a-half classic with 50/1 outsider Boom Time.
Hayes not only co-trains the now 2017 Melbourne Cup-bound Boom Time, but is also the sole owner, giving him plenty to cheer for on the first Tuesday of November when the horse attempts the Spring Cups double.
The Hall of Fame trainer has also enjoyed two previous Cox Plate victories with Better Loosen Up (1990) and Fields Of Omagh (2006), and is considering a run for Seaburge in the $3 million event this weekend.
Of course the horse to beat in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) this year is the Chris Waller-trained champion mare Winx looking to equal Kingston Town and his Cox Plate three-peat.
Last year the daughter of Street Cry defeated Hartnell by a record eight length winning margin for her second Cox Plate trophy as the $1.70 favourite.
Having won her past 21 starts on the trot, Winx is now in line to join Black Caviar with 15 Group 1 triumphs and keep the winning streak going on Cox Plate Day.
She is already at prohibitive Cox Plate odds at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au of $1.16 before the final field is confirmed on Tuesday morning.
Currently the connections of just five other runners have confirmed a final Cox Plate acceptance for their horses, all those outside of Winx chasing the $440,000 for second place at best.
The size of the Cox Plate field could still be boosted however with a number of possible runners, including Seaburge for Hayes and the Lindsay Park team.
The four-year-old Sebring stallion is a $201 outsider in futures Cox Plate betting, and Hayes admits the last start Toorak Handicap fourth placegetter is more likely to contest the Group 2 $200,000 Crystal Mile (1600m).
“I’ll have a think about running Seaburge but he is more likely to go to the Crystal Mile,” Hayes told The Daily Telegraph.
“But we are all running for second because Winx is so good.
“This looks a good year to watch and cheer for Winx.”
The other possible eleventh hour Cox Plate rivals looking for a place behind Winx are her stablemate Tom Melbourne who also holds a Crystal Mile nomination, Abbey Marie for Cranbourne’s Mick Kent and the Aidan O’Brien-trained raider The Taj Mahal.
Five-year-old Redoute’s Choice mare Abbey Marie will be on the quick turnaround having finished in a dead heat for sixth with now Melbourne Cup favourite Marmelo in the Caulfield Cup finishing Order.
She is also nominated for a Cox Plate Day assignment over more metres in the Group 2 $300,000 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
The Taj Mahal is a four-year-old son of Galileo and stablemate over in Ireland to beaten Caulfield Cup favourite Johannes Vermeer (3rd).
The entire debuted down under on October 14 in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), but could only manage to run second last (10th) behind Darren Weir’s Cox Plate contender Gailo Chop.
The official Ladbrokes Cox Plate 2017 field will be announced at 8:30am (AEDT) on Tuesday, making now the time to check the generous all-in markets open at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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