Winx has been included in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate nominations and is one of 141 horses that remain a chance of contesting the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship at The Valley on October 29.
Winx stamped herself as a genuine start when she won the 2015 Cox Plate, smashing the previous track record held by Might And Power in the process, and she enhanced her legacy with a seven lengths romp in the Group 1 event last year.
Kingston Town is the only horse to have previously won the Cox Plate on three occasions and Winx is currently priced at $1.50 in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate betting market to replicate the feat of the champion gelding.
Winx may not have things her own way in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate and 140 other horses have been included in the nominations, which includes 15 international entries.
Headlining the international gallopers that have been included in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate nominations is Aidan O’Brien-trained Highland Reel.
Highland Reel finished third behind Winx and Criterion in the 2015 Cox Plate, but there is no doubt that he has gone to another level over the past 18 months.
He took out both the Group 1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m) and Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf (2414m) in 2016 and he has already won both the Group 1 Coronation Cup (2423m) and Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2004m) this year.
The other international gallopers that have been included in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate nominations are: Best Solution, Cliffs Of Moher, Deauville, Folkswood, Johannes Vermeer, Kaspersky, Lightning Spear, Neorealism, Prize Money, Riven Light, Scottish, Taj Mahal and Teodoro.
A total of 35 Group 1 winners remain a chance of contesting the Cox Plate and a number of talented three-year-olds have been entered for the $3 million event.
Abbey Marie, Black Heart Bart, Egg Tart, Foxplay, He’s Our Rokki, Jon Snow, Le Romain, Redkirk Warrior, Hey Doc, Sense Of Occasion and Yankee Rose are among the Group 1 winners that have been included in the Cox Plate nominations, while gifted three-year-olds like The Mission, Addictive Nature, Catchy, Tangled, Sanadaat and Whispered Secret are all an outside chance of making it to the race.
The 141 entires is down on the 157 that were included in the nominations for the race last year, but Racing Victoria Executive General Manager Of Racing Greg Carpenter is delighted with the quality of the international nominations.
“As the world’s highest rated racehorse on turf and a two-time Cox Plate champion, Winx is the deserved favourite, and we’re excited to welcome her back to Melbourne for this Spring Racing Carnival as she strives to join Kingston Town in becoming just the second horse to win three Cox Plates,” Carpenter said.
“News of her nomination, however, should come as no real surprise today, which is why it is so exciting to see such a strong contingent of horses declare their hand to try and topple the mare’s tilt for a third consecutive Cox Plate victory.
“We’re privileged to see a champion in Winx return, and delighted to have entries from the key international stables of Aidan O’Brien and Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor, who together have nominated 10 of the 15 internationals.”
The first acceptances for the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate will be released on September 12 and the final field will be revealed on October 24.