Highland Reel among international stars invited to take on Winx
Highland Reel has been invited to Moonee Valley to take another swing at the brilliant Winx in this year's Cox Plate.
Aidan O'Brien's five-time Group 1 winner finished third behind Winx when she won the first of her two Cox Plates in 2015 and the Chris Waller-trained mare is aiming to make history with a third successive victory in Australia's premier weight-for-age contest.
Ireland's champion trainer O'Brien won the race with Adelaide in 2014.
Another previous visitor to the Melbourne Spring Carnival, last year's Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish, has also been handed a Cox Plate invitation by the Moonee Valley Racing Club, as has the Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorated Knight.
Lockinge Stakes winner Ribchester also features among the eight international horses handed an invitation to the ten-furlong race on October 28, with Japan's Makahiki and Neorealism also on the race organisers' wishlist.
France's Mekhtaal is another to have handed the option of a trip to Australia, along with Hong Kong star Wether.
"The international invitational model is very important for the Moonee Valley Racing Club," MVRC chief executive Michael Browell told racing.com.
"In 2016, the Cox Plate was the highest-rated turf race in the world, with Winx on a rating of 132.
"We are keen to make sure we can maintain the quality of the race, and to do that we need to make sure we get these quality internationals to come through."