Jockey Hugh Bowman is more than happy after champion mare Winx drew barrier six in the 2018 Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday.
Bowman will be able to position Winx wherever he wants to from gate six in the eight horse field and will also be able to gauge the pace of the race and settle the super star mare where she is comfortable.
Bowman found himself boxed in on the fence for a long time before finding clear space late to win the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 6.
That is not going to happen on Saturday and Bowman will be able to make his move forward on the Chris Waller trained mare when he feels he needs to press the button.
“I’m pleased with six … they did ask where would I like to draw and I said four or five, if we were first cab off the rank but we weren’t, I think six was the obvious choice from what was left,” Bowman told racing.com.
“I want to be able to control the speed if need be.”
“I don’t want to be in a position where I’m dictated to.”
Winx will be up against some tough opposition in the Cox Plate with the Godolphin owned star Benbatl coming off a last start win in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 13 while last year’s runner up Humidor is lining up again.
Winx is in line to win her fourth Cox Plate on the trot after holding off Humidor last year to equal Kingston Town record of three Cox Plate wins in succession.
Benbatl has drawn barrier three with European jockey Oisin Murphy in the saddle while Damian Lane rides Humidor again and the Darren Weir trained six year old will jump from beside Winx at barrier seven.
“It’s going to be a great race, it’s a good field and I think Benbatl really offers some excitement to the race, it’s going to be very interesting,” Bowman said.
“Hopefully they run along at a good, solid gallop and there’s every chance they will.”
Winx remains at her short price of $1.25 for the Cox Plate with Ladbrokes.com.au with the nearest to her in the betting is Benbatl at $9 while Humidor in on the third line of betting at $14.