The countdown to the 2017 Spring Racing Carnival in Australia has officially commenced with nominations closing for the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
A total of 141 horses have been nominated for the $3.05 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2,040m), with connections of Winx declaring the champion will return to Moonee Valley on Saturday, 28th October in a bid to equal Kingston Town’s record of three consecutive (1980, 81, 82) Cox Plate victories.
The prospect of a mouth-watering rematch with the Aidan O’Brien-trained superstar Highland Reel, who ran third to Winx in the 2015 edition as a three-year-old, remains alive with the international globetrotter one of 15 international entries.
Highland Reel, who has amassed Group 1 victories in England, USA and Hong Kong since his Cox Plate placing, is one of three international invitees to nominate. The others are 2016 BMW Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish (UK) and the last start Group 1 QEII Cup winner Neorealism (Japan).
The total international contingent includes seven horses from Ireland, seven from the UK and one from Japan, with O’Brien’s six entries including Group 1 Epsom Derby runner up Cliffs of Moher.
Racing Victoria Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said:
“We’re privileged to see a champion in Winx return, and delighted to have entries from the key international stables of Aidan O’Brien and Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor, who together have nominated 10 of the 15 internationals.”