Group 1 William Hill Cox Plate Offers Winx/Hartnell Showdown

Only nine others, assuming no scratches between now and Saturday’s Group 1 Cox Plate have accepted the bit and the challenge of running against Winx.

She has drawn barrier three. Her primary contender, Hartnell will jump from barrier seven as the long awaited showdown between the five-year-old mare and the six-year-old gelding should attract a great deal of public and punter interest.

Winx is the $1.90 favourite according the bookies, down from $2 prior to the barrier draw. Hartnell went in the opposite direction, from $2.80 to $3.00. Our fearless prediction, fearless because there is nothing riding on it, is that Winx will shorten further in the days leading up to the jump.

Three-year-old Yankee Rose, third-favourite, coming out of barrier one, is almost an entire jockey lighter than the others, with only 47.5 kg to haul around the Moonee Valley racecourse. She has the credentials, having won the Spring Champion Stakes in her last start and running second in the Golden Slipper Stakes as a two-year-old.

Winx pilot Hugh Bowman is already touting his horse as being at an advantage because he expects that with no natural leader to establish a quick pace, the Cox Plate will be a tactical contest that favours the abilities of Winx.

It apparently does not pay to be a horse with “happy” in your name, as Happy Trails and Happy Clapper are decided longshots.

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