In-form Group 1 winning jockey Dwayne Dunn is hoping for an upset win when he rides Hauraki in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
While the bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au and most form expects consider it a battle between Chris Waller’s super mare Winx and the John O’Shea trained Hartnell, Dunn doesn’t necessarily see it as a two horse war.
“While everyone talks about it as a two-horse race, hopefully they start thinking about themselves and forget about a couple of us that are chances in the race if they have their issues,” Dunn told AAP.
“It’s probably a matter of the two-horse war maybe unfolding in front of me and if there’s any chink in their armour, I can chime in.”
“My horse is sort of a get-back run-on horse as well.
Winx currently sits at the top of the Cox Plate market order with Ladbrokes.com.au at $2 in front of Hartnell at $3.50 while Hauraki is at the juicy double figure odds of $19.
Dunn will be chasing his first win in the Cox Plate on Hauraki, a stablemate of Hartnell, after being in the minor placings with a second on Happy Trails in 2013, a third on Rekindled Interest in 2011 and a fourth on Zarita in 2008.
“I’ve had a second, a third, a fourth. It’s been a race that’s been good to me but it’s still a bit of a thorn in my side. It would be nice to get one,” Dunn said.
“I think he’s a great chance.”
“He got beaten a length and a quarter behind Winx. His Sydney form has been outstanding.”
Hauraki clashed with Winx two starts back when a one and quarter lengths second to the mighty mare in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 17.
The Reset stallion also ran into Winx during the 2016 Sydney Autumn Carnival finishing third on two occasions behind her at Randwick in the Group 2 $250,000 Optus Business Apollo Stakes (1400m) and in the Group 1 $600,000 Precise Air Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
Hauraki is racing in fine with wins on either side of his second in the George Main Stakes when he beat Le Romain in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 3 three starts back and comes to Moonee Valley on the back of a win in the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 1, the same race that Winx won last year before going on to demoralise her rivals in the Cox Plate.
Hartnell is also racing in the best form of his career with wins at his last three starts, including a last start win over Caulfield Cup winner Jameka in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2.
Dunn has had a stellar Spring Carnival to date with Group 1 wins in the $1m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on Divine Prophet and in the $500,000 IG Markets Toorak Handicap (1600m) on He’s Our Rokkii and rounded off the Caulfield Carnival with a win on Our Boy Malachi in the Group 2 $200,000 Dilmah For Lovers Of Tea Caulfield Sprint (1000m).
Winx is a winner of her last twelve starts, including eight Group 1s and deserved her spot at the top of the Cox Plate market order.
Cox Plate market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2 Winx, $3.50 Hartnell, $14 Vadamos, Yankee Rose, $17 Black Heart Bart, $19 Hauraki, $21 Lucia Valentina, $71 Awesome Rock, Happy Clapper, $126 Happy Trails.