It's all about wonderful Winx

5 min read

The domestic and international racing focus will be on Moonee Valley on Saturday when Winx (Street Cry {IRE}) bids for her fourth straight G1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate.

The Melbourne track will be packed to the rafters to witness a potential history-making event while, such is her pulling power, television audiences will be sky high with non-thoroughbred followers also drawn to the great mare.

There’s no doubt she is at the top of her game and trainer Chris Waller said this week it will take bad luck or a champion to beat her. Given there isn’t a contender worthy of the latter title, the race is hers to lose.

History beckons

With only seven rivals and a widish gate, rider Hugh Bowman should be able to steer her around on a trouble-free path and so be prepared to celebrate an historic occasion.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {IRE}) was a strong winner of the G1 Caulfield S., and should improve – and he’s going to have to. His best form has been abroad and he looks sure to run well, albeit a minor placing most likely.

Benbatl winning the Caulfield Stakes

Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo {IRE}) chased home Winx 12 months’ ago and he’s certainly going well enough to make the judge’s frame while eyes will be on Kings Will Dream (IRE) (Casamento {IRE}), but more so from a G1 Melbourne Cup point of view.

The same scenario applies to Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) and Savvy Coup (NZ) (Savabeel) is a dual Group 1 winner in New Zealand, but she faces an almighty rise in class.

Place claims

Rostropovich (IRE) (Frankel {GB}) is a Group 1 placegetter in Ireland and place money looks his best hope. D’Argento (So You Think {NZ}) was disappointing in the G1 Caulfield S., and will need to find many lengths to be troublesome.


An even line-up of Melbourne Cup hopefuls will attempt to further their cases for a start at Flemington when they go to war in the G2 McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup.

Egg Tart (Sebring) has been racing consistently and she should appreciate the step up to 2500 metres as will her stablemate and defending champion Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (Yamanin Vital {NZ}).

The Taj Mahal (IRE) (Galileo {IRE}) was a strong winner on the course two runs back and he was a decent fifth in the G1 Caulfield Cup in a muddling run race. Expect improved efforts from Tosen Basil (JPN) (Harbinger {GB}) and Ventura Storm (IRE) (Zoffany {FR}) as they get out to a more suitable trip.

Clear as Crystal

Siege Of Quebec (Fastnet Rock) has gone to another level this preparation and a last-start third in the G1 Toorak H., strongly suggests he will be hard to roll in the G2 Schweppes Crystal Mile.

Sir John Lavery (IRE) (Galileo {IRE}) didn’t have the best of runs when fifth in the Listed Paris Lane S., and he’s capable of good things here.

The way Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) won the G3 Ethereal S., she is going to take some holding out in the G2 Drummond Gold Vase.

Aramayo (Poet’s Voice {GB}) was runner-up in the G1 Spring Champion S., and looks sure to give another bold account of himself while Botti (NZ) (Jakkalberry {IRE}) was luckless at Moe and he will be better suited against his own age group in this.

Stable to follow

Darren Weir has a strong hand in the G2 Aquis Farm Fillies’ Classic with Anjana (Sepoy) and Krone (Eurozone). Both have been genuine this preparation and have form on the tricky Moonee Valley circuit.

The progressive Sunset Watch (Akeed Mofeed {GB}) faces his sternest test in the G3 1300 Australia S., and looks well up for it following an impressive win on the track last month.

He is in the care of Team Hawkes, who also have a bright prospect in the Listed Harrolds Crokett S., in the shape of I’m So Sweet (I Am Invincible). She has won two of her last three starts and also looks more than capable of holding her own in black type company.

Savatiano the answer

Savatiano’s form is hard to fault and the Street Cry {IRE} mare is a leading chance in the G3 Powerflo Solutions S., for James Cummings. She was a last-start runner-up in the G2 Blazer S., and this looks a touch easier.

The 2-year-olds will open the programme in the Listed Inglis Banner and race day experience might be the key with Wedgetail (Foxwedge) and Biscara (Rubick) both placing on debut and sure to be improvers.

In New Zealand, the prospect of a rain-affected Trentham track will boost the chances of the former Australian galloper Raw Impulse (GB) (Makfi {GB}) in the G3 Gee & Hickton Thompson H., with the genuine Art Deco (NZ) (Road To Rock) another who’s a dab hand in the wet.

Sight a winner

Last Sight (Showcasing {GB}) was an impressive debut winner at Ruakaka and should prove hard to handle in the Listed Hanley Formula Wellesley S. Another daughter of Showcasing in Beauty Diva (NZ) is highly-regarded and might prove the toughest to beat.

At Riccarton, The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) can boost his G1 Al Basti Equiworld NZ 2000 Guineas prospects if he remains undefeated after the Listed Zacinto S.

He runs here off the back of a maiden success at Waverley where he won with a minimum of effort.

From the foot of the handicap, Swing Note (Encosta de Lago) could provide some value in the Listed Christchurch Casino Spring Classic.

Stakes placed last term and a two-time winner this preparation, she will appreciate the step up to a middle distance and the wide open spaces of Riccarton.