Sydney’s leading rider Hugh Bowman has selected the Chris Waller trained mare Winx as his ride in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Winx is one of Waller’s three Cox Plate hopefuls, the other two being Victoria Derby winner Preferment and Doncaster Mile winner Kermadec.
Glen Boss is the regular rider for Kermadec while Bowman had the choice between Winx and Preferment, both last start winners for last season’s leading Group 1 winning jockey.
Bowman steered Winx to a breathtaking win in the Group 1 $1m The Star 150th Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 3 and was also aboard Preferment when he won the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 19 and then he beat stablemate Royal Descent when he took out the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
Bowman confirmed his Cox Plate decision with a twitter post that simple said “Winx #coxplate.”
Waller said that Winx has settled into her Melbourne surrounding in great order and was most impressed with her workout at Moonee Valley last Thursday morning when he took all three Cox Plate runners there to familiarize them with the tricky circuit.
“Very good. She is the same weight that she was when she left Sydney, so she is eating well, she has settled in well,” Waller told racing.com after their work.
“Watching her, I didn’t time the three but to my eye she looked the sharpest. That means little in how they are going to perform.”
“But she is a very sharp athletic filly. She got around the track effortless on the right leg and it was quite impressive to watch.”
While Waller said that Winx was impressive, he still found it hard to separate the three Group 1 winners.
“I can’t really separate them. They were all on the right legs, finished off well under no pressure. They did it themselves so to speak.”
“I guess the pleasing part of this morning (Thursday) was that they worked on an outstanding surface. It is a credit to the Moonee Valley Team, they present their tracks perfectly.
Waller said that Kermadec had come through his latest run in good style after finishing fourth to Criterion in the Group 1 $400,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10 and Boss was happy with the work.
“It looks like he has come through well,” Waller said.
“He has got plenty of weight on. Glen Boss rode him this morning and said that he was on the right leg every stage he needed to be and he really let down strongly on a more forgiving surface this morning.”
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And Waller was also pleased with the way Preferment handled the Moonee Valley track and said that the Zabeel four year old was still improving with every run.
“He is probably a little bit different to Kermadec and Winx. He is not quite as sharp especially in track gallops,” Waller said.
“The exciting part about him is that we think he is getting better, his form would certainly suggest that. Not just his Turnbull Stakes win, but his second up win in Sydney over 2000m was pretty special.”
“He got going early, he maintained his run and he came out on top in a very tight finish.”
“It is quite exciting to see a Zabeel four year old really starting to improve. It is what you would expect.”
Latest betting in the Cox Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au has Winx the highest rated of the Waller trio at $6 just ahead of Kermadec at $6.50 with Preferment marked at $13.
The Lindsay Park trained Criterion shares favouritism at $5.50 with the highly rated Aidan O’Brien trained Highland Reel.