Glamour mare Winx will only have seven rivals in today’s Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley following the late withdrawal of the English import Kaspersky.
The Jane Chapple-Hyam trained Kaspersky, who was to be ridden by Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne, was declared a late scratching at 8.19am (Melbourne time) this morning because of swelling and soreness in his near fore leg.
The scratching of the $101 chance had no effect on the betting for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate with Winx remaining the dominant favourite at $1.16 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Kaspersky had drawn barrier two in the original barrier draw for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate so every runner except Seaburge in the pole position will move in one spot in the starting gates with Winx now to jump from barrier five in the eight horse field with Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Trainer Chris Waller said this morning that Winx was in tip top condition to tackle her Spring Carnival Grand Final and create history by equalling Kingston Town’s record of three consecutive Ladbrokes Cox Plate victories.
“Everything has just gone to plan and that makes everybody’s job a lot easier and Winx is a little bit different. She is not a horse we worry about track conditions and even barrier draws rally,” Waller told Sky Racing HQ Saturday.
“It’s just about safety and making sure you get a little bit of luck in racing which you always need.”
“The horse is ready to go. Today being the Grand Final. Who knows if she will run again after today in this preparation. We will make that decision well after today.”
“Everything has been geared up towards today run.”
Winx is lining up for her twenty-second straight win and a third consecutive Ladbrokes Cox Plate victory after demolishing her rivals in the 2015 and 2016 runnings of ‘The Weight For Age Championship’.
The glamour mare has strung together twenty-one consecutive wins, her last two at Group 1 level in the $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 16 and in the $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 7.
The Moonee Valley track has been rated a Good 3 for the start of the ten race program with the rail in the true position for the entire course.