Winx vs Hartnell - Cox Plate Race of the Century!
Written on the 10 October 2016
Hailed to be the race of the century, it's now confirmed, Hartnell will go up against champion mare, Winx at the 2016 William Hill Cox Plate in Melbourne on Saturday, 22nd October.
The Cox Plate held at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne since 1922, is a prestigious Group 1 race for 3 year olds and above, held under weight for age conditions. The 2040 metre run with $3 million prize money has seen quality horses win such as Phar Lap, Sunline, Northerly and Kingston Town.
Godolphin owned 6yo gelding, Hartnell, trained by John O'Shea, who has demolished his competition at his past three runs, including a last start impressive win in the Turnbull Stakes, has been branded the horse who can beat champion mare Winx. The current race record for Hartnell is 5 wins from 13 starts with prize money of $2,233,999.00.
5yo mare, Winx, trained by Chris Waller, who has yet to be beaten in her last 12 runs, including a win by 2 lengths at the recent Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield, will be the one to watch. The current race record for Winx is 16 wins from 22 starts with prize money of $7,498,175.00. Winx has beaten Hartnell at their three meetings to date, including last years' Cox Plate and is the favourite for this years' edition of the race currently at $2.15 to Hartnell at $2.70.
Hartnell jockey James McDonald didn't ride in the Caulfield Stakes this year and ony 2 other contenders were brave enough to go up against Winx at this pretigious racing event.
Jockey, Hugh Bowman, after riding Winx 12 of her 21 career starts, and winning 10, said on SEN, Saturday, the mare was not dissimilar to him - "she's a very uncomplicated individual... a bit like myself."
Waller says of Winx, "She doesn't really respond to affection. She doesn't respond to anything other than business. She doesn't really like being patted. Everyone does pat her, but she doesn't really appreciate it."
Wallter described her as 'the ultimate professional... she is not here just to have a good time. She is here to do business and to do whatever it takes to build herself up. Track gallops are serious; walking out on the track is serious; having a sand roll is no problem, she will do that. Have a few pats, (but) that's enough. Then, it's back to business."
(Hartnell photo credit: Sky Racing, Winx photo credit: RSN)