The 1986 Cox Plate was dubbed ‘The Race Of The Century’ and when Bonecrusher finally wore down Our Waverley Star the late, great Bill Collins, famously said the great Kiwi had ‘raced into equine immortality’.
No matter how many times you’ve seen it before, it is still worth another watch:
Here we are, 30 years later and conveniently in a new century where perhaps we’re about to see a renewal of the Cox Plate that could rival the previous greatest.
The clash of Winx and Hartnell is mouth watering to say the least. Both have been building through their campaigns and posted impressive wins in their last few starts. Winx has not tasted defeat in her last 12 runs, Hartnell has won three on the trot with a cumulative winning margin of nearly 20 lengths! The last time he was not first past the post however, he was beaten some 3 lengths by none other than Winx.
What shapes this clash as a great one is that they are both last start Group 1 winners over 2000m, and both looked very good in doing so. It’s the clock and the quality of opposition that have been left behind them that I think tell the story that Winx will once again be the victor when they face off at Moonee Valley.
To be fair, daylight has basically been running second to Hartnell, but the form guide will read that Grand Marshall, Who Shot Thebarman and Jameka all ran second. These are all good horses, but they are more dour staying types and Hartnell was the only horse with a real Weight For Age turn of foot in these events, and got the job done accordingly. In the Turnbull Stakes, he covered his last 1000m in 58 seconds, not a bad effort, however on the same day, Almandin came home his last 1000m only marginally slower in 58.09, over the longer distance of 2500m.
Winx raced only two rivals in The Caulfield Stakes, covering her last 1000m in 56.83 and easily accounted for Black Heart Bart who had been very impressive the start prior in The Underwood Stakes. In my opinion this was a superior win to that of Hartnell, and she did it at her first ever start at Caulfield, and Hugh Bowman was quoted to say she got on the wrong leg around the home turn.
I’m very confident she’ll improve again and win The Cox Plate to join another great mare in Sunline as back-to-back winners of our WFA Championship. Then we will have to wait another 12 months to see if she can do what Sunline could not, and make it a hat trick next year.
What a race we are set for, I can’t wait!