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The Moonee Valley Racing Club has sent out the first list of International invitations to the world’s top weight for age performers who could challenge the mighty Winx in the 2018 Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley in October.

Winx, above, is the odds on favourite for the 2018 Cox Plate at The Valley. Photo by Steve Hart.

Winx, above, is the odds on favourite for the 2018 Cox Plate at The Valley. Photo by Steve Hart.

The Chris Waller trained Winx will be chasing an historic fourth straight win in the weight for age championship that has had it prizemoney boosted from $3 million to $5 million this year.

“With the recent $2 million prizemoney injection to our great race for the first time since 2002, we are confident we can entice horses on the world stage to compete at The Valley in what is now the richest Group 1 turf race at 2000 metres in the world,” said Michael Browell, Moonee Valley Racing Club CEO.

“Working with the MVRC Committee and Paul Bloodworth and the team at Racing Victoria, we have identified what we believe to be the best Weight-for-Age horses and we hope they are keen to take on Winx and create a brilliant spectacle.”

Winx’s last start win in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on day two of The Champions took her tally to twenty-nine wins from thirty-five starts, her last twenty-five wins in succession which includes her three Cox Plate trophies among her eighteen Group 1 victories.

The John Gosden trained Cracksman and Godolphin’s Benbatl head the list of thirteen international gallopers that have been invited to compete in the Cox Plate during the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival.

Cracksman is the winner of three Group 1 races in Europe at his last three starts, his latest being the Group 1 £420,000 Coronation Cup (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Epsom Downs in England on June 1 while Benbatl, who carries the famous Godolphin royal blue colours, is a last start winner of the Group 1 US$6m DP World Dubai Turf (1800m) at Meydan in Dubai on March 31.

Winx dominates the 2018 betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and is the $1.55 favourite to win her fourth straight Cox Plate with her nearest rival in the market order being the Darren Weir trained Humidor at $15.

Humidor’s stablemates Gailo Chop along with Happy Clapper, Johannes Vermeer and Unforgotten share the next line of betting at $21 while Benbartl and Cracksman are both marked at $26.

FIRST ROUND OF INTERNATIONAL INVITES FOR THE 2018 LADBROKES COX PLATE

Horse Country Trainer Ladbrokes Odds
CRACKSMAN UK John Gosden $26
BENBATL UAE Saeed bin Suroor $26
ALMOND EYE JPN Sakae Kunieda $41
RECOLETOS FR Carlos Laffon-Parias $41
MOZU ASCOT JPN Yoshito Yahagi $41
POET’S WORD UK Sir Michael Stoute $34
LANCASTER BOMBER IRE Aidan O’Brien $41
YOSHIDA USA William Mott $41
THUNDER SNOW UAE Saeed bin Suroor $34
EPOCA D’ORO JPN Hideaki Fujiwara $34
SAXON WARRIOR IRE Aidan O’Brien $34
MENDELSSOHN IRE Aidan O’Brien $34
PERSIAN KNIGHT JPN Yasutoshi Ikee $41

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.