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Winx could challenge for Cox Plate favouritism

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The freakish quality of Winx has punters believing she could turn back the tide of international raiders in Saturday's Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

Bookmakers have been stunned by the support for the Chris Waller-trained four-year-old mare since she drew barrier one on Tuesday.

Winx has never raced at weight-for-age but commanding wins in the Queensland Oaks and her last start in the Epsom Handicap have punters prepared to think she could be a freak.

"It is really the perfect storm, barrier one, Hugh Bowman, Chris Waller and a horse that has won her past four on end," TAB's Glenn Munsie said. "It is everything they know that works.

"They have seen her last couple of wins where she has got into trouble and still won and they have a lot of faith in her."

Bowman chose Winx over Preferment in the Cox Plate and admits she is unknown at weight-for-age.

"She could just be a freak," he said.

"Her performances are there for everyone to see but the reality is the horses she's been beating are not at the same level as the horses she's going to meet [in the Cox Plate].

"She feels like a horse that could be special but until we see her at this level, it's hard for anyone to know."

There has been a turnaround in the pecking order of the Chris Waller runners in the past week as Winx took the mantle of No.1 seed from Kermadec.

"She has clearly been the one they have wanted to be on away from the internationals. She holds more than 30 per cent of the money since the barrier draw, which is remarkable because it was her stablemate Kermadec was the one they wanted from a long way out," Munsie said.

"He is now friendless but in the overall book is still a loser, because of the doubles flowing into him. We can't write a bet for him this week.

"Other than that it is the internationals, Highland Reel, Criterion and Arod that they respect."

Winx was marked a $7.50 chance by Ladbrokes following the barrier draw but tightened into $6 on Friday and could challenge Irish four-year-old Highland Reel, which holds his spot at the top of betting at $5.50.

Arod has been kept safe around the $8 mark but Roger Oldridge from Ladbrokes said Winx is the only Australian runner that punters want to be on.

"If it wasn't for her, I would say the Cox Plate was going to leave the country for sure," Oldridge said. "There is a lot of respect for the European form, Highland Reel, Arod and Criterion have been solid in our betting for a long time.

"We have written some big bets on Highland Reel but the money for Winx has seen him go from $5 to $5.50 [on Friday].

"She could be favourite by race time such is the support for her." 


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