Winx v Hartnell in the biggest showdown the Australian Racing public has had in many, many years. It’s the Fantasy Stars Group 1 Cox Plate preview!
It’s Australia’s premier weight for age (WFA) horse race and has been described by some as the greatest two minutes in Australian sport – the Cox Plate!
It’s 2040m around a tight Moonee Valley circuit that has been the scene of some of Australian racing’s greatest ever triumphs.
Only Hartnell and Winx are in single figures in the betting markets and for good reason. The rest of their challenges they have all beaten comfortable so far besides Vadamos and Yankee Rose who they’ve never faced in a race thus far.
The Speed Map
**Speed maps created using the functionality on punters.com.au**
Our current map has Awesome Rock leading, there isn’t a stack of pace on paper and for him to have any chance of winning you’d think he’d have to be in front, not behind Winx and Hartnell at the turn. Vadamos the French horse looks likely to press forward also allowing the likes of Winx, Hartnell, Happy Clapper, Black Heart Bart and Yankee Rose to sort themselves out in behind. Hauraki, Lucia Valentina and Happy Trails probably go back from the outside gates as none of them are suited out in front.
Hartnell has been ultra impressive all preparation but was utterly dominant when demolishing the now Caulfield Cup winning mare Jameka on Turnbull Stakes Day (below). Ratings-wise, this preparation he’s been every bit as good as Winx and comes in with a stronger platform with a few more competitively run races. Winx is the undisputed champ he has to knock off. She’s gunning for her thirteenth straight victory and despite having a bit of a non-event preparation she is without doubt the one to beat.
Lucia Valentina really needs a rain-affected track to produce her best. She is setting up well but unless there is more rain coming than the current forecast predicts we are happy to put a line through her. Yankee Rose would need to improve 3-4L to place competitive let alone have a chance at toppling the big guys here. Happy Trails is lining up in his fifth Cox Plate and one of the most underrated WFA horses in Australia. He’ll have to get back near last and that will make his task too difficult. Vadamos brings a different form-line and will go forward most likely which is a positive. However, on his best European form he’s still well behind Winx and Hartnell.
Hauraki is racing very well but it’s very difficult to see him beating either Winx or Hartnell. Awesome Rock will need to lead to have any chance, a muddling tempo and some trouble in transit to the main hopes his only chance. Happy Clapper is the underatted runner in the field for us, he’s clearly behind the top-two runners but looks likely to give the rest a solid race. Black Heart Bart has drifted from $15 to $21 since the barrier draw and a place chance is his best hope.
Overall it certainly looks a race in two with Hauraki, Happy Clapper and Lucia Valentina the best hopes to run third on our numbers. Vadamos, Black Heart Bart and Yankee Rose look far too short in the place portion of the market.
TopBetta Tournament Tips
Back WINX! $1.90 seems an ultra generous price for the queen of the turf. We’ve rated her a $1.80 chance and she is the real win market value in the race without being any obvious overlays. You can also entertain a place bet on HAPPY CLAPPER who presents very fit and set to reproduce his Doncaster peak from last year. Gate four will ensure he gets the right run and outside of the big two, $14 the place is essentially saying he is paying $14 to finish third but it’s worth a spec in tournaments as it’ll likely be a ‘low ownership’ play.