Matt Chapman riles Winx fans by challenging mare to show her worth in Cox Plate
Matt Chapman has challenged Winx to show her greatness on her date with history with the racing commentator telling Australian racing fans that she should, as the world’s highest-rated horse, win Saturday's Cox Plate easily.
Chapman told Racing.com’s After The Last programme host Shane Anderson he expected Winx would win her fourth Cox Plate but felt she should as he did not rate her main danger – the Godolphin horse Benbatl - as being among Europe’s best weight-for-age middle-distance performers.
"He [Benbatl] is between five and eight lengths off an Enable or Cracksman. If Winx is this wondermare at the age of seven – which is highly unlikely as there aren’t many wondermares at the age of seven – but if she is this freak wondermare . . . and Benbatl gives her a race then all the Australians saying she is invincible should be worried because he shouldn’t be able to give her a race."
Chapman prompted some jeers from the crowd at the official Cox Plate breakfast earlier in the morning when he suggested during a live interview that he and others back in Britain believed Winx was "beating fairly moderate horses" and that Champion Stakes winner Cracksman deserved to be rated the best horse in the world in her place.
"Back home we feel Winx is beating fairly moderate horses."— Racing.com (@Racing) October 23, 2018
English racing commentator @MCYeeehaaa gives his honest assessment of Winx ahead of the @CoxPlate. @attheraces @itvracing
Thoughts on this statement? pic.twitter.com/NY12CHxDu3
Speaking with Racing.com's Jason Richardson at the barrier draw function for the Cox Plate and Manikato Stakes, Chapman said he believed the quality of horses who have lined up to face Winx on Australian shores are inferior to those racing in Europe.
"Back home we feel Winx is beating fairly moderate horses," he said. "Slightly it was proved in the result with Best Solution, when all the horses Winx had been beating were stuffed out of sight, although it was a completely different type of race.
"The only link we kind of have to Winx is Highland Reel and everyone will say 'Oh, Winx beat Highland Reel'.
"You have to remember, when she beat Highland Reel he was a very young horse, he'd hardly done anything at that stage. It was only on his next start when he went to Hong Kong and won. He really progressed as he become a four-year-old, it's really hard for us to judge."
Winx currently sits at the top of the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings but Chapman fears her position should be threatened by Cracksman, winner of the Champion Stakes at Ascot last weekend.
"Hugh Bowman doesn't want to sit ten lengths or 15 lengths off Benbatl, because this is one of those very strange European horses who seems to run better when he is abroad. Back home he would be nowhere near our best horses at a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half horses who are Enable and Cracksman," he said.
"And Cracksman – some of you might have seen in the Champion Stakes at the weekend – I hate to say this in an Australian room, if the handicappers do their job properly he will now be the best horse in the world, if he is rated on what he did at the weekend."
Read exclusive previews from 6pm daily on racingpost.com