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.

Saxon Warrior: invited along with stablemates Lancaster Bomber and Mendelssohn
Martin Lynch

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


YOSHIDA (USA) William Mott

THUNDER SNOW (UAE) Saeed Bin Suroor

EPOCA D’ORO (JPN) Hideaki Fujiwara