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Australia’s lady or racing Gai Waterhouse may not have a runner against Winx in the 2017 Cox Plate this weekend, but she knows a thing or two about what lies ahead with her father preparing the race’s only triple winner Kingston Town.
This Saturday at Moonee Valley Chris Waller’s superlative mare Winx gets the chance to equal the Tommy Smith-trained Kingston Town (1980-82) with three straight victories in the Australasian weight-for-age championship.
After her powerhouse Turnbull Stakes success in her maiden Flemington run last time out, six-year-old Winx is into $1.16 in pre-field markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to continue the winning streak in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
The superstar daughter of Street Cry won at odds of $4.60 in 2015 before setting a new winning margin record with the eight length title defence as the $1.70 favourite in Cox Plate betting in 2016.
Now punters will find her at the shortest Cox Plate odds since Phar Lap won his second at $1.07 right back in 1931.
Kingston Town meanwhile won all three of his Cox Plate trophies as the punters’ pick: $2.50 in 1980, $1.67 in 1981 and back out to $2.75 to make history in 1982.
The hat-trick is there to be equalled on Saturday by Winx who has won her past 21 starts on the trot and will also join another Australian Racing great, Black Caviar, with 15 Group 1s when she salutes.
Waterhouse knows Winx will come out and “just win”, but said it was a shame the race is set to attract a diminutive field possibly as small as just six starters.
“Winx is a wonderful mare and she will just win,” Waterhouse told The Daily Telegraph.
“It is a shame they won’t have a full field because the Cox Plate is such a brilliant race but Winx brings the crowds to the track, just like The Everest did.
“Racing needs champions like Winx or big events like The Everest to get more people interested in the sport.”
The current Cox Plate horses confirmed to accept at final acceptance stage on Tuesday at 8:00am (AEDT) are: the Darren Weir-trained Ladbrokes Stakes winner Gailo Chop, Pat Webster’s regular Winx rival Happy Clapper who ran sixth in the race last spring, beaten Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas favourite last time out Royal Symphony, Charlie Appleby’s British raider Folkswood and fellow international Kaspersky who could yet be omitted from the line-up by the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee.
Waterhouse knows the comparisons between Winx and Kingston Town ahead of the mare’s shot at the Cox Plate three-peat are there to be made, but she has a hard time separating the two.
“Kingston Town is so close to my heart for obvious reasons,” she said.
“It is very hard to compare the great horses when they haven’t met in a race but I think it says it all that Winx is about to win a third Cox Plate. Only Kingston Town has been able to do that.
“Winx, is so genuine, so consistent, she has an amazing will-to-win. She is a remarkable, very special mare.”
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