Waller weaves his magic in 2015 Cox Plate – latest news & updates

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Winx Cox Plate

Winx Cox Plate

THE 2015 Cox Plate was hyped to be one of the best fields in history and it didn't fail to disappoint as racegoers witnessed one of the most stunning performances ever seen on the track.

Chris Waller scored his first training success in as four-year-old mare Winx broke their hearts at the top of the straight and burst away for an effortless victory.

Winx broke the 18-year course record held by Might and Power by sitting in behind leaders The Cleaner and Arod, before finding the gap along the rail and showing its devastating turn-of-foot to win by 4.75 lengths.

“It's special but it hasn't sunk in,” Waller said.

Comparisons were made to dual-winner 's 2000 Cox Plate win when describing its ability to quicken up around Moonee Valley.

“What I saw was Shades of Sunline really,” Waller said.

“I could see Criterion coming out of the pack and it's still a long straight. She had a perfect run and a perfect ride but she's still only lightly raced.”

There was plenty of post-race discussion about the tactics used from Hugh Bowman, with Criterion's rider Michael Walker blowing up about the ride.

Criterion suffered interference from Winx as the field approached the home turn. Criterion was positioned on the inside of Winx and, when The Cleaner shifted out, Winx rolled in and left Criterion “almost through the rail” as Walker described.

“I went straight,” Bowman told stewards after the race.

“I haven't come in to take that run. I'm dictated to by the outside horse [The Cleaner].

“I believe I'm entitled to take the run.”

Bowman suggested the best way to help Walker was to utilise Winx's “turn of foot” to ease the pressure as quickly as possible.

“The best way to help was to go and I went,” Bowman said. “I believe I was entitled to take the run – I went straight.

“If I angled in to take the run I'd have cleaned him up.”

Chief steward Terry Bailey ultimately decided it was “a racing incident”.

Criterion will look to go one better as it tackles the next Tuesday at Flemington.

The David Hayes/-trained runner is well favoured in the market at $13 with Sportsbet.com.au and its international experience should give punters the confidence they need.

In third position behind Winx and Criterion was the Aidan O'Brien-trained which sweated up badly before the race.

Connections knew how tough it would be to beat Winx after watching footage of its last two wins in Sydney, which featured the Epsom Handicap.

Coolmore representative James Bester said jockey Ryan Moore was impressed with Winx's class.

“When he [Moore] saw what she had done to win her last two, he said to me, ‘I don't care what she ran against, that is a champion with the way she had the setbacks and been put back on her heels and finished like she did,” Bester said.

“He rated her the biggest danger while Criterion was also going to be up there.”

Highland Reel was backed throughout the week with bookmakers. After opening at $14, the European dropped down to favourite at $5.50, before money come in late for Winx.

“We have no complaints,” Bester said. “You don't mind being beaten by something that good.

“He's run a fabulous race. The winner is just out of this world.

“It would have been nice to beat Criterion but he went terrific.”

Highland Reel will return to Ireland before O'Brien plans its 2016 campaign. O'Brien will stay in Australia for the Spring carnival as he lines up the highly-touted Kingfisher in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.

Kingfisher is a value chance at $26 with CrownBet.com.au after beating some of Europe's best thoroughbreds this season.

The disappointing Cox Plate runs came from a trio of well-liked runners. European runner Arod was backed on an each-way basis at $8, but it also sweated up badly prior to the race and subsequently jockey Craig Williams reported it pulled up poorly.

Once Cox Plate favourite Kermadec finished 13th of 14 runners, but failed to reveal any abnormalities other than a slower than normal recovery.

filled last position and, after a tough trip in transit, jockey James Doyle reported it didn't respond when placed under pressure.

2015 Cox Plate finishing order and jockey's comments

1st – Winx (Hugh Bowman)

“All I wanted to be when I was a little boy was to be a jockey. To be here riding on this day, to win a race like this I can't tell you how much it means. I just can't believe it. I drew barrier one, had a lot of confidence in the mare but was a bit worried down the side the first time because Highland Reel was staying one off and there was a lot of room between me and The Cleaner which is not ideal but she's a Group 1 mare and she's a serious racehorse that adapted to the awkward position and from the 800 I was very confident but from the 600 when The Cleaner rolled off and I went through I didn't want to be going that early but sometimes you don't have choices, you've got to take the cards you are dealt and I was on the premium mare that was able to capitalise on the run that I got.”

2nd – Criterion (Michael Walker)

“Good run. I probably should have finished a lot closer but at the 550 (metres) the winner nearly put me through the fence.”

3rd – Highland Reel (Ryan Moore)

“He ran a very good race. I thought the winner was very impressive.”

4th – Pornichet (Kerrin McEvoy)

“It was a good effort. He's enjoyed the tongue tie going on and we rode him a little bit differently today. He got into a nicer rhythm and he's been very brave running fourth.”

5th – Hartnell (James McDonald)

“Went really good. I think he'll be spot on for this (Melbourne) Cup over two miles. He raced like that so it was a good effort.”

6th – Fawkner ()

“He ran a good race, worked into it nicely on the home turn but couldn't make up the extra ground. The winner was in another hemisphere.”

7th – The Cleaner ()

“He was brave. The thing he did today that he doesn't normally do is when the pressure went right on at the 600 (metres) he just wanted to lay out, he doesn't normally do that so we'll see how he pulls up and if Mick thinks he's alright he'll run in the Emirates (Stakes).”

8th – Gailo Chop (Brad Rawiller)

“Going out of the straight I got into a bumping duel with Criterion and Mourinho, he pulled then for the next three, 400 metres and basically didn't breathe properly after that. Got him into his rhythm, he made one sort of move but basically it caught up with him, the first 600 metres of the race.”

9th – Preferment (Nash Rawiller)

“My horse travelled well, it wasn't really run to suit us, the way it was run we were at our top from the 700 (metres) and he was a little bit undone getting around the corner but he hit the line well.”

10th – Happy Trails (Mark Zahra)

“He ran alright. We had to come around them and it was too hard. The winner was obviously too good.”

11th – Arod (Craig Williams)

“He was a little bit free in the early part of the race and them we got him to switch off but he was beaten too far.”

12th – Mourinho (Vlad Duric)

“Got a bit of cover, peeled out along the side and he kicked for about a hundred yards then found them a bit too good on the day.”

13th – Kermadec (Glen Boss)

“He got into a good spot early and the first half of the race I was pretty happy but he came off the bridle way too early and with this sort of pressure you need to be travelling for a lot longer than he did and he was gone a long way from home.”

14th – Complacent (James Doyle)

“He felt like something was amiss.”

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