The third and final Group 1 race at Flemington this Saturday will be the VRC Champions Stakes, where 11 runners will do battle over 2000m with A$3 million on the line.
After finishing second in back-to-back Group 1 races, West Wind Blows has opened as the clear +160 favourite with online bookmakers.
Roger James & Robert Wellwood-trained Prowess (+450) returned to Australia with a nice win in the Group 2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley last start, which kept her unbeaten record on Aussie shores intact.
The daughter of Proisir is a two-time Group 1 winner throughout her career, and she will regain the services of Mark Zahra, who is fresh off winning a second consecutive Melbourne Cup.
Duais (+450) was unlucky in the Cox Plate, as she never saw clear air from the 300m mark; however, she did enough to claim fourth place, running only 1.3 lengths behind Romantic Warrior.
The daughter of Shamus Award took out the Group 1 Australia Cup at this track and trip in March of 2022, and with Damien Oliver sticking after the Cox Plate, it must be seen as a positive for her chances.
The reigning champion, Zaaki (+700), will return to defend his title, but after finishing outside the placings in the Cox Plate, the jury is out as to whether the veteran gelding is going as well as he was last year.
Atishu (+650) will back up after running in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes seven days ago, where she attempted to chase down Pride Of Jenni but ran out of ground over 1600m, so the extra 400m should suit the Chris Waller-trained mare.
The 2023 VRC Champions Stakes will be race eight on the Flemington card and is scheduled to jump at 5:10pm AEDT.