The 2016 Cox Plate field has been released and 10 outstanding horses are set to contest the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The Cox Plate has been billed as a battle between Winx and Hartnell and both star gallopers have been included in the field for this year’s race.
Winx stamped herself as a genuine superstar with her record-breaking victory in the Cox Plate 12 months ago and she has not been beaten since – recording dominant victory in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m), Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m).
Hartnell was no match for Winx first-up in the Warwick Stakes, but he has gone to another level in his past three starts and recorded dominant victories in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 3, the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a fortnight later and the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2.
The Turnbull Stakes form was franked when runner-up Jameka recorded a dominant victory in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2000m) on Saturday and Hartnell has been well-supported to beat the star mare.
While Winx and Hartnell dominate betting, there is still plenty of talent in the Cox Plate field and the x-factor in the race could be French galloper Vadamos.
Vadamos will head into the Cox Plate on the back of a very tough victory in the Group 1 Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp (1600m) at Chantilly on September 11 and he will make his own luck right on the speed.
One of the most interesting horses in the 2016 Cox Plate field is Yankee Rose, who has the chance to become just the second three-year-old filly in history to take out the Group 1 event.
Yankee Rose started her 2016 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a credible sixth in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 10 and she was only narrowly denied in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 1 before she recorded a second Group 1 victory in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000) at Royal Randwick on October 8.
Pat Webster-trained Happy Clapper (barrier four), Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner Awesome Rock (barrier five), Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina (barrier nine) and veteran gelding Happy Trails (barrier ten) round out the 2016 Cox Plate field.