Winx favourite to win another Cox Plate

A day after her brilliant Cox Plate win, Winx is the favourite to win the race again next year.


The Chris Waller-trained mare trounced her rivals at Moonee Valley on Saturday to draw comparisons with dual Cox Plate winner Sunline (1999-2000).


Like Sunline, she began her career in winning fashion but unlike the great New Zealand mare she faltered in her first Group One assignment when beaten by First Seal in the Flight Stakes.


Another second in the Australian Oaks had Waller wondering when her Group One turn would come.


Although she had already had five autumn starts, her trainer decided to attack the Queensland Oaks which this year was held at Doomben over 2200 metres instead of the usual 2400 at Eagle Farm.


But it would be her lead-up run in the Sunshine Coast Guineas that proved the watershed moment in her career.


After drawing barrier 14 of 18, Winx was taken back in the field early and came to the home turn in last place and her winning chances seemed unlikely.


Winx had other ideas and powered down the 400m straight to win by 1-3/4 lengths.


She didn’t get quite as far back in the Oaks and won by twice as much.


“The Sunshine Coast Guineas was the race that showed us how good she could be,” Waller said.


“She had drawn some bad barriers and we had tried to go forward on her. That was the day that turned things around.”


Despite the brilliance of that win, the Cox Plate was not on the radar with Waller planning a spring campaign aimed at the Myer Classic for mares.


The announcement of a prize boost for the Epsom Handicap to $1 million prompted a reassessment of her program.


“A million dollar race in her own backyard in Sydney was too good to refuse so we changed the program and the Myer didn’t fit in with that,” Waller said.


“And when she won the Epsom as well as she did the Cox Plate became a reality.”


The reality is Winx lowered the track record set by Might And Power in his 1998 win and became just the eighth mare to win the Cox Plate and to give Waller his first.


“The plan now will be to get her ready for the autumn. The George Ryder and the Queen Elizabeth are targets,” Waller said.


“Maybe then we look at taking on the world or there’s the Cox Plate again.”‘- AAP TURF
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