Sport

Favourites satisfied with Cox Plate barrier draw

James McDonald rides Hartnell to the barrier for the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington earlier this month.
James McDonald rides Hartnell to the barrier for the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington earlier this month. JULIAN SMITH

CONNECTIONS of the two favourites for Saturday's $3 million Cox Plate emerged from today's barrier draw at Moonee Valley with confidence unabated.

With defending champion Winx to jump from No.3 and emerging Godolphin superstar Hartnell in No.7, both camps were satisfied their chances had not been harmed by the draw for a 10-horse field with no natural pacemaker.

Winx's jockey, Hugh Bowman, told racing.com he was "satisfied” with barrier three.

"There's no real designated leader in the field, so someone's going to have to take it up,” he said.

"From barrier three, I jump from a position where I'm not going to be committed to be making a decision I don't want to make.

"Then again, if it is a really muddily run race and I'm stuck inside horses, it could get awkward for me.

"Ultimately for me, it's about keeping it simple and having the horse comfortable, and if that's the case, she'll be very hard to beat.”

After galloping Winx at the Valley on Saturday morning, trainer Chris Waller sent her around again this morning over 1600m at Breakfast with the Best and was pleased with what he saw.

"Everything's gone to plan with us and that's the most important thing. She is going well,” he said.

"Hugh said she's a natural getting around the track, she just loves it.”

Reaction to the barrier draw was swift with Winx firming from $2 into $1.90 and Hartnell drifting from $2.80 to $3.

Hartnell's trainer John O'Shea was suitably respectful when asked if he was concerned Winx had drawn the three alley.

"I'm concerned she's in the race,” he quipped.

Queried on tactics, O'Shea expected jockey James McDonald would concentrate on getting Hartnell relaxed as he did in taking out the Turnbull Stakes (Group 1, 2000m) by more than three lengths over subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Jameka.

"James was able to let him roll along a little bit for the first couple of furlongs (in the Turnbull) and get him to a nice rhythm,” O'Shea said.

"From gate seven we don't have to be bustling - we can just take out time and have a similar approach.”

"Both him and Bowman are great riders. Both (horses) will get their chances to be effective.”

Topics:  chris waller cox plate hartnell hugh bowman james mcdonald john oshea winx


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

REVEALED: A new Northern Rivers music festival in 2017

Lismore Music Festival co-directors Scott Cooper and Paul Connelly.

Mark March 10 and 11 in your calendar

Dreams and culture in them there hills...

Sophie Moeller, Lismore Echo Editor. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

Hall's stories bring local history alive through song and dance

Local Partners

EXCLUSIVE: Meet Robert Irwin, wildlife photographer

SNAPPER: Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion.

Steve's boy has a passion for photography

Louis Tomlinson's tribute to late mother

Louis Tomlinson's new single is a tribute to his late mother.

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

WATCH QTV: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!