We want you: Cracksman and Saxon Warrior invited to stop Winx in Cox Plate
Source: Luke Sheehan – Racing.com
“Between them, the 13 invitees have won as many Group 1s as the champion herself – 18.”
The Moonee Valley Racing Club has revealed its shortlist of 13 international invitees to a date with Winx in October’s A$5 million (£2.85m) Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2,040m).
As Chris Waller’s superstar mare approaches a bid for an unprecedented four straight wins in the weight-for-age championship on October 27, the MVRC is looking to find horses from abroad to challenge the rising seven-year-old in her own backyard.
Leading the invite list is trainer Aidan O’Brien, who won the Cox Plate in 2014 with Adelaide.
Since O’Brien’s win with Adelaide it has been all Winx, who had three (Highland Reel, Gailo Chop, Arod) international rivals in 2015, one (Vadamos) in ’16, and one (Folkswood) last year.
In 2018, the MVRC has invited Saxon Warrior, Mendelssohn and Lancaster Bomber from the O’Brien camp. Saxon Warrior has already won two Group 1s despite being beaten when favourite in last weekend’s Derby at Epsom.
When it comes to invites by country, O’Brien’s Irish contingent is trumped by the four sent to Japan – Almond Eye (Sakai Kunieda), Epoca D’Oro (Hideaki Fujinara), Mozu Ascot (Yoshito Yahagi) and Persian Knight (Yasutoshi Ikee).
Coming in with two apiece are Britain (two-time Group 1 winner Cracksman and Poet’s Word) and the UAE – both from the Saeed Bin Suroor stable – with Dubai Turf winner Benbatl and Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow.
Only one female is among the 13 invited to tackle the world’s best racehorse – Almond Eye. She is joined by fellow northern-hemisphere three-year-olds Mendelssohn and Saxon Warrior on the invite list.
There are seven four-year-olds, while Poet’s Voice is the only five-year-old among the potential challengers. Between them, the 13 invitees have won as many Group 1s as the champion herself – 18.
Leading the charge are Cracksman and Thunder Snow with three each, while the elder statesman of the baker’s dozen – Poet’s Word – is the only horse of the group yet to prevail at the highest level.zzz
First round of international invitations for the 2018 Ladbrokes Cox Plate
CRACKSMAN (UK) John Gosden
BENBATL (UAE) Saeed Bin Suroor
ALMOND EYE (JPN) Sakae Kunieda
RECOLETOS (FR) Carlos Laffon-Parias
MOZU ASCOT (JPN) Yoshito Yahagi
POET’S WORD (UK) Sir Michael Stoute
LANCASTER BOMBER (IRE) Aidan O’Brien
YOSHIDA (USA) William Mott
THUNDER SNOW (UAE) Saeed Bin Suroor
EPOCA D’ORO (JPN) Hideaki Fujiwara
SAXON WARRIOR (IRE) Aidan O’Brien
MENDELSSOHN (IRE) Aidan O’Brien
PERSIAN KNIGHT (JPN) Yasutoshi Ikee