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29 not out! Watch Winx make history with easy Cox Plate success

Legend: Winx secures her place in history with a fourth Cox Plate
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It had never been done before, but it should never have been in doubt.

Winx has made a habit of making the unprecedented seem straightforward and her fourth Ladbrokes Cox Plate was no different. Benbatl came from Britain to provide her with fresh, and stiff, opposition. But she battered him.

It was a mark of respect to Saeed Bin Suroor’s runner that Bowman sat closer to the pace than usual. Just like in the previous night’s Manikato, wherever Oisin Murphy went Bowman followed.

At the 600-metre mark, just as promised, Bowman moved the wondermare out and the crowd went berserk. From there they only got louder as she quickened around the cambered bend and powered clear in the manner of a horse much too good for the opposition.

As Ryan Moore – on Rostropovich – and Murphy kicked for home, Winx was still cruising. The fact she was four wide round the tight home turn to a short straight did not matter. She inhaled the ground without coming off the bridle and motored past a horse who has won three Group 1s in as many countries.

Bowman pushed Winx out until they had put the race to bed, but then eased up to soak in the moment. The pair were winning Australia’s premier weight-for-age race for an unbelievable fourth time and Bowman savoured the last 50 metres like a man who knows this time next year it will not be quite so easy.

Hugh Bowman punches the air in delight after Winx's victory

"I’m just so proud of the horse," he said. "I am feeling emotional but the electricity that came through my body turning into the home straight just then was something I didn’t just get to feel, but hopefully everybody else watching did too.

"I’m lost for words. Everybody watching her gets so much pleasure from her, out of her superb ability. The fact she’s been able to win so many times consecutively just speaks volumes of the management of her. I’m just so proud to be a part of this story."

Trainer Chris Waller said: "Going out of the straight the first time I was a little concerned that she was going to be caught three wide but it all unfolded quite well. The speed wasn’t too strong, if anything they were going a bit too slow and she performs best under pressure so that was my only concern.

"I was looking and seeing how the others were travelling, but she had them covered a long way from home."

That she did. Benbatl was a game second two lengths back, with a further two and three-quarter lengths to last year’s runner-up Humidor in third and another three lengths to Avilius in fourth.

Bin Suroor said of Benbatl: "She’s a superstar, she's the best of the best, I am very happy for the owner, trainer and jockey – it’s a great race. We took our chance, but he got beat by a better filly. He ran well – he didn't suit the ground – but she is something special."

Rostropovich faded to finish fifth and Moore said: "He's run a nice race. He had to do a lot of hard work but the winner's a champion and it was nice to see her."


Cox Plate result


 

Damien Oliver to ride Red Verdon in the Melbourne Cup 

Three-time Melbourne Cup-winning rider Damien Oliver has picked up the ride on Ed Dunlop's Red Verdon after Oisin Murphy was handed a 15-day careless riding ban which rules him out of the Flemington showpiece.

Oliver has won the Melbourne Cup on Doriemus (1995), Media Puzzle (2002) and Fiorente (2013). 

Dunlop's travelling head lad Robin Trevor-Jones said: "I've just spoken to Damien and he's keen for the ride. I just told him to ride him exactly how he rode Fiorente."

Kerrin McEvoy has picked up the ride on the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter.


Our man in Melbourne Stuart Riley brings you all the best coverage from the Spring Carnival. Watch his interviews with leading trainers and jockeys here

I was looking and seeing how the others were travelling, but she had them covered a long way from home
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