Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien will fine tune his Melbourne Cup hopeful Rostropovich against Winx in the 2018 Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday.
Rostropovich is well in the market at $16 at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6 but is one of the outsiders of the Cox Plate field at $34.
The world’s highest rated race horse Winx is in line to win her fourth straight Cox Plate and heads the betting at the very short quote of $1.22 and O’Brien stable representative T J Commerford said that he would be very surprised if Rostropovich was to end Winx’s winning streak of twenty-eight wins in a row.
“I wouldn’t be disappointed if he beat Winx, but I probably would be a bit surprised,” Commerford said.
“I thought that even if we could run into a place, maybe third or fourth, I thought that would be a big run, especially going into a Melbourne Cup.”
“Because he is off a good weight in the Melbourne Cup and that is his main target.”
Commerford can remember when the O’Brien trained Highland Reel finished third to Winx in the 2015 Cox Plate and knows how good the Chris Waller trained mare is, but he is happy to be running against her.
“We have took Winx on before with Highland Reel and we found Winx at her best that day,” Commerford said.
“Highland Reel was a good horse as well. Winx is very good and it is great to be able to run against her.”
“She is a great filly and we are privileged to be able to take part in the race more than anything.”
“We just hope he runs well more than anything.”
“He is in good form and he got here in good shape and looks well. He can take his chance and see what he can do and hopefully it will keep him right for the Melbourne Cup.”
“Hopefully he will show up as well, but I know it is a big ask and his main target is the Melbourne Cup and we said we might as well do this on the way.”
Rostropovich has drawn the outside barrier in the eight horse Cox Plate field with English jockey Ryan Moore in the saddle while Winx will jump from gate six with regular rider Hugh Bowman on top.
“Ryan knows him well. He won a Group race on him at the Curragh as a two year old and he won on him at Chester this year,” Commerford said.
“He is pretty straight forward, it is not a big field.”
Rostropovich is weighted with 51kg in the Melbourne Cup and is currently number thirteen in the order of entry.