Cox Plate Tips - Winx will have a fight on her hands

Aaron Hamilton in Latest Tips 19 Oct 2016
  • $15 chance can cause an upset.
  • Jockey to make all the difference in defying history again.
Connections of Adelaide hold up the Cox Plate

The biggest mistake some punters will make heading into Saturday’s Cox Plate (2040m) is assuming either Winx or Hartnell will win and therefore not bother doing the form.

Enhanced odds available on EVERY Cox Plate runner at Ladbrokes

There are plenty of other chances in the race that have claims for one reason or another, and although Winx and Hartnell are clear standouts on recent form, some analysis still has to be done.

When analysing Hartnell’s Turnbull Stakes win, it rates as the strongest wins in the event since the Caulfield track was resurfaced in 2005.

Hartnell stopped the clock at 2:01.0 and was eased down at the 100m mark.

He easily had them covered, as he did in the Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and Hill Stakes (2000m), and the only time we’ve seen this consistent dominance in recent times was when Black Caviar was belting the sprinting ranks.

2017 Cox Plate

DateSaturday, October 28, 2017
TrackMoonee Valley Racecourse
Distance2040m
ClassGroup 1
Race TypeWeight-for-Age
Prizemoney$3 million
Age3YO and above
2017 TipTBA


The son of Authorized beat Jameka by 3.3 lengths and she subsequently brained the Caulfield Cup field by three lengths.

Only Makybe Diva (2:01.5), Efficient (2:01.6) and Preferment (2:01.3) have got close to Hartnell’s Turnbull Stakes winning time, and each of them were asked for a full effort all the way to the line.

Like Hartnell, Preferment also won the Hill Stakes prior to the Turnbull, but when it came to his next start, he finished 13 lengths from Winx in the Cox Plate, and that has the alarm bells ringing.


Preferment ran great time to win in the Turnbull Stakes – previously the benchmark since the track resurfacing - but he failed to get near the super mare at the tight-turning Moonee Valley track.

Hartnell’s win was far more impressive that Preferment’s, but he too struggled at his first run at The Valley when finishing 10 lengths fifth in last year’s Cox Plate after sitting alongside Winx for most of the run.

He’s going much better this campaign and that has to be taken into consideration, but he was only 1.4 lengths from Preferment in the Turnbull last year, and even with his vast improvement this year, he would still need to improve by at least another seven lengths to get near Winx if she brings last year’s form.

Winx has proven herself at the track and has drawn perfectly in barrier 3 for this year’s assault on the weight-for-age championship.

She didn’t run any flash time in the Caulfield Stakes, but with just three runners, it was always going to be a sit and sprint type event.

Although there are 10 runners in the Cox Plate, I can see it being run similarly to the Caulfield Stakes due to the lack of horses with early speed.

Watch our Cox Plate video preview:



Lucia Valentina, Hauraki, Yankee Rose and Happy Trails are all likely to go back and try and find a position.

Yankee Rose tried to lead all the way when first-up this campaign and that went terribly wrong, so it’s hard to imagine that will be the plan for her.

Although, she has fitness on her side and a really light weight, but if the stable were planning to go forward, putting the blinkers back on would have helped and trainer David Vandyke hasn’t made a gear change.

French galloper Vadamos should be rearward based on his European racing pattern and speed, but from barrier 2, he could try and hold a forward position.

The remainder of the field consists of Winx, Hartnell, Black Heart Bart, Happy Clapper and Awesome Rock, and there is not one leader among them.

I think Black Heart Bart will lead from barrier 6, as this is his only chance at beating Winx and trying to hold off the rest of the field.

He set a modest tempo in the Caulfield Stakes and set it up for Winx who has the superior turn of foot, and his only chance to turn the tables on Winx is to lead and try and kick a long way from home which could make it harder for her to mow him down.

Epsom Handicap winner Hauraki is absolutely flying this campaign and his Epsom win rates around five lengths quicker than Winx’s Epsom win before she claimed the Cox Plate.

But the stable opted for an outside barrier and that tells us he’s going back. 

Hauraki will need some speed on up front to be getting home over the top of them, and that looks highly unlikely.

If we go back and looks at last year’s Cox Plate, Winx settled in sixth place behind The Cleaner, Arod, Highland Reel, Complacent and Hartnell.

The first of those three are speed machines that like to roll along up front, but there is nothing in the race with that much early pace this year, so in all likelihood, Black Heart Bart will take up the running, Hartnell may be forced to sit outside him while Winx and Awesome Rock lob in behind the speed.

The leading pair will build the tempo with 600m to go and I can’t see Awesome Rock trying to challenge on the outside of Hartnell as his best opportunity to figure in the money is to stay behind Hartnell and get sucked into the race.

From here, Hugh Bowman will have two options aboard Winx: 1) he hopes Black Heart Bart drifts off the rail and aims for an inside run, and 2) he tries to shove Awesome Rock out the way and really takes it up to Hartnell before the turn.

Bowman is one of the best in the business and knows what his mare is capable of so we’ll just have to trust his judgement and know that he’s giving it his all while Winx is doing the same.

Mathematically speaking, on weights and recent form, the only horses than could possible come from behind Winx and beat her are Hartnell and Yankee Rose with her light weight. 

Hartnell’s run in last year’s Cox Plate has me concerned that he doesn’t excel at the track, and with him likely to be in a forward position, I think the only real dangers to Winx are Black Heart Bart from the front and Yankee Rose from the rear.

Black Heat Bart can only beat Winx with luck – it’s as simple as that. 

He doesn’t have the same motor as her, and if she’s within four lengths of him on the turn, she can still beat him.

From barrier 1, I can see Yankee Rose settling right behind Winx and following her every move, and with nearly 10kg less on her back, she’s the one to challenge Winx.

Yankee Rose defied history by becoming the first filly to win the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) last start, and that win rated third highest in Spring Champion Stakes history.


Sweynesse finished 2.6 lengths 3rd in the 2014 Spring Champion which was the second strongest, and he was unlucky when finishing 1.9 lengths from Adelaide in the Cox Plate.

Yankee Rose on the other hand won the Spring Champion and has a real sense of timing about her as she comes into the Cox Plate at her fourth run this campaign.

She has a better turn of foot than Sweynesse, and if she gets into the clear at the right time, she could be ready to join Surround as the only other three-year-old filly to claim Australasia’s greatest weight-for-age race.

The other big detractor for three-year-old fillies in a Cox Plate is they get in so light, there are limited jockey opportunities and some good chances have been butchered by bad rides.

Dean Yendall, won his first Group 1 aboard this filly in the Spring Champion as is the BEST light weight rider in the country without a doubt.

Winx is the horse to beat, and I will have a saver on her, but Yankee Rose will get every chance in the run and looks capable of spoiling the party.

At $15 to win and $3 to place, Yankee Rose looks a great each-way bet in what will be a cracking Cox Plate.


*State exclusions apply to some offers. NSW Residents are excluded from welcome bonuses. Please read the T&Cs of each offer with each bookmaker.

Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

Cox Plate Tips - Winx will have a fight on her hands

Aaron Hamilton previews Saturday's Group 1 Cox Plate and gives his top three selections before the final field and barrier draw.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages