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Moonee Valley Racing Club stewards will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss whether or not they will allow British raider Kaspersky into the 2017 Cox Plate field as a rival to Winx.
Winx chases her record-equalling third straight win in the Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday and is the $1.16 favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au to dominate.
A $101 roughie in those all-in Ladbrokes Cox Plate odds for Saturday, the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained stallion Kaspersky may not even be allowed to race due to his lowly rating.
The MVRC committee meets at 8:30am (AEDT) on Tuesday morning, a half-hour after final Cox Plate acceptances are taken, to discuss the merits of Kaspersky and a number of other potential gallopers looking to fill a place behind Winx in the weight-for-age classic on the weekend.
The first Melbourne Cup winning female jockey Michelle Payne (Prince Of Penzance, 2015) is on standby for the Kaspersky ride in the Cox Plate field.
Newmarket-based Chapple-Hyam hopes that her horse gets his chance to atone for the 16th to Tosen Stardom first-up on October 14 in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and that his European form suggests he can be competitive.
“He ran fifth in the [Group 1] Queen Anne [at Royal Ascot] and he was second in the [Group 2] Summer Mile,” she told the Herald Sun.
“He didn’t true his true colours in the Toorak, but they might’ve gone a bit quick.
“He’s settled in fine here at Ballarat and everything is good.
“I think he can run well at Moonee Valley. We’re just waiting for the two thumbs up.”
So far there the connections of only five Winx rivals have confirmed plans to pay final acceptances: Kaspersky, the Darren Weir-trained Gailo Chop, Pat Webster’s veteran Happy Clapper, three-year-old Royal Symphony and another international Folkswood.
Winx chases her 22nd consecutive turf triumph, 15th Group 1 success and will surpass Makybe Diva on top of the all-time Australian Racehorse Prizemoney list with a victory on the weekend.
Of her potential rivals, three occupying the equal second line of betting pre-field at $17 including the Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin galloper Folkswood who won the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2050m) by nearly three lengths on October 15.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy partnered the Exceed And Excel gelding for the big first-up win and retains the ride this Saturday chasing the unlikely upset.
Also at $17 are last start Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) winner Gailo Chop, the form of that race franked over the weekend in the Group 3 Caulfield Cup (2400m), and Teofilo seven-year-old Happy Clapper.
The Ladbrokes Stakes runner-up Johannes Vermeer ran third to shock winner Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup trifecta of 2017, while the Nick Olive-trained runner-up Single Gaze improved on her lead-up fourth in the same race.
Happy Clapper won the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) two back at Randwick before finishing second as the beaten odds-on favourite last start in the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m).
He is the only 2017 Cox Plate hopeful to have contested the race last year, finishing a distant sixth to Winx who saluted by a historical eight lengths.
Royal Symphony meanwhile pays $21 to join So You Think (2009) and Shamus Award (2013) as the latest three-year-old Cox Plate winners, the Tony McEvoy-trained Domesday colt to be ridden by Dean Yendall.
There is also a chance The Taj Mahal (Aidan O’Brien), Tom Melbourne (Chris Waller), Abbey Marie (Michael Kent) and Seaburge (Lindsay Park) could potentially accept for Saturday’s major.
Check the latest Cox Plate 2017 odds on Winx now through race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
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