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Excitement mounting about Cox Plate match race

Mon, Oct 17, 12:02pm by Bren O'Brien

Saturday’s $3 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley is looming as the match race of a generation, with Winx and Hartnell both cherry ripe for Australia’s greatest weight for age race.

Tom Waterhouse, Australia’s most high-profile bookmaker, has declared Winx unbeatable in her bid for a 13th-straight win, with his William Hill betting agency posting her at $2.20 for the big race.

“Winx is a moral,’’ Waterhouse told the Daily Telegraph. “Hartnell has never beaten Winx and I can’t see him beating her in the Cox Plate.”

While Winx has not put a foot wrong this campaign, progressing through her three races in the Warwick Stakes, the George Main Stakes and the Caulfield Stakes without concern, the momentum has been building that Hartnell could defeat the wonder mare, especially after his dominant win in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.

WATCH: Our Preview of Cox Plate Day

This is despite the fact that the three horses have met three times, with Winx having won all three, with the closest margin between them being 3.5 lengths.

Hartnell ran in Winx’s Cox Plate 12 months ago and was beaten 10.2 lengths as she re-wrote the record books with her impressive victory. They then met in the Chipping Norton at Randwick in February, which Hartnell was 4.7 lengths behind her in fifth.

They then clashed in the Warwick Stakes in August when both horses were first-up, with Winx having 3.5 lengths to spare over second placed Hartnell.

However, Hartnell has subsequently won his next three races by eight, six and three lengths and his price has tumbled in. The horse he beat last start was Jameka, who went on to win the Caulfield Cup by three lengths and Hartnell is now $3 with Sportsbet and $2.80 with William Hill.

It is hard to remember a Cox Plate where two horses have so dominated the market, with a gaggle of five horses battling for third spot in the market at around $15.

Sportsbet have Yankee Rose, Black Heart Bart and Vadamos at $15, with Hauraki and Lucia Valentina at $17.

William Hill have Lucia Valentina, Black Heart Bart, Vadamos and Yankee Rose all at $15, with Hauraki out to $17.

Vadamos will now be ridden by the world’s best jockey Joao Moreira and the French galloper has impressed everyone with his work at Werribee.

Happy Clapper ($41), Awesome Rock ($67) and Happy Trails ($101) are likely to make up the field when it is confirmed on Tuesday morning.

Cox Plate Market: (Sportsbet)

Winx $2

Hartnell $3

Yankee Rose $15

Black Heart Bart $15

Vadamos $15

Hauraki $17

Lucia Valentina $17

Happy Clapper $41

Sir Isaac Newton (Doubtful) $51

Awesome Rock $67

Happy Trails $101

Cox Plate Market: (William Hill)  

Winx $2.2

Hartnell $2.8

Lucia Valentina $15

Yankee Rose $15

Black Heart Bart $15

Vadamos $15

Hauraki $17

Jameka $34

Happy Clapper $41

Awesome Rock $51

Palentino $51

Seaburge $51

Preferment $101

Happy Trails $101

He Or She $101

He’s Our Rokkii $101

Swear $101

Tivaci $151

Miss Rose De Lago $201

Missrock $301

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