There may never have been a more anticipated race in Australian Racing history than the 2018 Ladbrokes Cox Plate!
Winx will take on seven rivals as she attempts to make history and become the first horse to win the Cox Plate on four occasions.
It should come as no surprise that Winx is an extremely short-priced favourite in our Cox Plate betting market, but she won’t have things her own way against a small, but select field.
Will Winx make history once again or will we witness an enormous upset? We have analysed the field and our complete 2018 Cox Plate tips can be found below.
Benbatl is a genuine world class performer and he proved that with his tough victory in the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield a fortnight ago. He still has the scope to improve on that performance and he is a horse that The Valley will suit as he makes his own luck right on the speed. His best isn’t good enough to match it with a firing Winx, there is arguably no horse in the world that can, but he will give the great mare something to chase and he could give her a scare if she doesn’t bring her best form to The Valley on Saturday.
We all saw what Humidor did in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate 12 months ago and he is a horse that is capable of a very high-rating performance on his day. His two lead-up runs in both the Underwood Stakes and the Ladbrokes Stakes have been a touch on the flat side and there is no doubt that he would need to life to finish in the placings for the second year in a row. I think the wide barrier draw is ideal for him and will allow him to produce something like his best form.
Kings Will Dream
Kings Will Dream is set to back-up in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate after he was never able to get into the contest in the Caulfield Cup. The slow tempo made it just about impossible for him to finish any closer than he did in the Caulfield Cup and a more genuine tempo would suit him in the Cox Plate. You can’t knock any of his runs this campaign, but I don’t think that he is good enough to beat the likes of Winx or Benbatl at Weight-For-Age level at this stage of his career.
Avilius has not put a foot wrong since he arrived in Australia and he heads into the Cox Plate on the back of four straight wins. I’m of the opinion that he will eventually be able to measure up at Group 1 level over 2000 metres, but the Melbourne Cup is clearly his goal this campaign. Glyn Schofield will be happy to settle Avilius at the tail of the field from the inside barrier trial and find the line nicely in what will be a nice barrier trial for the Melbourne Cup.
Chris Waller and connections made the decision this morning to pay-up and include D’argento in the Cox Plate field. There has been nothing wrong with the form of D’argento this Spring and he was only narrowly denied in the Epsom Handicap, but he was a little bit disappointing last start in the Ladbrokes Stakes. He would need to improve on that effort to be any chance of finishing in the placings in the Cox Plate and I don’t think that he has the upside to trouble Winx or Benbatl.
What more can you say about Winx? There is no other horse in the world that could have won from the position that she was in in the Turnbull Stakes and she had to produce some truly freakish closing sectionals to extend her incredible winning streak. Chris Waller has been adamant all campaign that he has her going as well as ever and there is no evidence to suggest that isn’t the case. Barrier six is ideal for her as Hugh Bowman will be able to keep her out of trouble and she gets around The Valley as well as any horse that we have ever seen. She will need to perform at somewhere near her best, as Benbatl is a serious horse in his own right, but you definitely won’t find me betting against her.
Rostropovich was a surprise inclusion in the Cox Plate field this morning. He finished second behind Latrobe in the Irish Derby, but he was trounced in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and his best form is over 2400 metres. I have an enormous amount of respect for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore, but I have to oppose Rostropovich in a race of this quality.
Savvy Coup is one of the best horses in New Zealand at the moment and her win in the Livamol Classic at Hastings last start was very impressive. This is still a massive step-up in class and she would likely need to produce a career best performance just to finish in the placings. I’ve got no knock on the mare and it would not shock if she won a Group 1 in Australia, but it won’t be one with the quality of the Cox Plate.