Poet’s Word (right) storms to victory in the Prince Of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot. Picture: Getty Images
Poet’s Word (right) storms to victory in the Prince Of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot. Picture: Getty Images

Europe’s finest gunning for Winx’s Cox Plate crown

THE highest-rated horse in Europe Poet's Word heads the list of possible challengers to take on Winx in the Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27.

Moonee Valley Racing Club officials announced on Tuesday there were 135 nominations for the Cox Plate, with Poet's Word and Winx the headline acts.

Sir Michael Stoute's stable star Poet's Word has won the Prince Of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at his past two starts and is the highest rated galloper among the 26 overseas entries.

Multiple Group 1 winner Saxon Warrior is one of a record 14 nominees under the care of Irish horseman Aidan O'Brien. His other main hopes are Lancaster Bomber, Deauville, Hydrangea, Rhododendron and Happily.

Connections of Godolphin's multiple Group 1-winner Benbatl, trained in the UAE by Saeed bin Suroor, have accepted the Moonee Valley Racing Club's invitation to contest the feature race.

Other notable international nominees include Japanese star Neorealism, a winner of eight races from 21 starts, including six at Stakes level; high-class Godolphin stablemates Blair House, Emotionless and Folkswood, who finished third behind Winx in last year's Cox Plate; and Irish Derby winner Latrobe, owned by Lloyd Williams and trained by Joseph O'Brien, the same connections who took out last year's Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) with Rekindling.

Billed as the weight-for-age championship of Australasia, the Cox Plate is the ultimate test of speed and stamina and will this year offer record prizemoney of $ 5million - up from $3 million last year.

Winx will be chasing her fourth straight Cox Plate win in the spring. Picture: AAP
Winx will be chasing her fourth straight Cox Plate win in the spring. Picture: AAP

Saturday's Missile Stakes winner the James Cummings' trained Kementari is also nominated.

Other big name entries include Mick Price's trio of Grunt, Mighty Boss and Seabrook, Lindsay Park's Boom Time and Catchy.

MVRC chief executive Michael Browell said: "The MVRC is delighted to see the quality of nominations from around the globe to contest the first $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate, taking Australasia's weight-for-age classic to the world.

"The 98th edition of the Cox Plate promises to be one of the richest chapters in our club's history, with Winx aiming for an unprecedented fourth straight win.

"It's great to see such a strong list of international runners nominated for the race, which illustrates the prestige the Cox Plate now carries on the world stage."

COX PLATE NOMINATIONS

Ace High (AUS), Admire Robson (JPN), Alizee (AUS), Aloisia (NZ), Ambitious (JPN), Angelucci (NZ), Arbeitsam (AUS), Asharani (AUS), Avilius (GB).

Beat The Bank (GB), Benbatl (GB), Bettyrae Ruby (AUS), Blair House (IRE), Bonneval (NZ), Boom Time (AUS), Brorocco (GB).

Calibration (IRE), Catchy (AUS), Cliffs Of Moher (IRE), Comin' Through (AUS).

Danon Liberty (JPN), D'Argento (AUS), Deauville (IRE), Dollar For Dollar (AUS), Douglas Macarthur (IRE).

Egg Tart (AUS), El Dorado Dreaming (AUS), Emotionless (IRE).

Folkswood (GB), Futooh (AUS).

Gem Song (AUS), Gold Mag (NZ), Good 'n' Fast (AUS), Graff (AUS), Grunt (NZ).

Happily (IRE), Happy Clapper (AUS), Harlem (GB), Hiyaam (NZ), Holy Snow (AUS), Homesman (USA), Humidor (NZ), Hunting Horn (IRE), Hush Writer (JPN), Hydrangea (IRE).

Instant De Reve (FR).

Jon Snow (NZ).

Kaonic (NZ), Kaspersky (IRE), Kementari (AUS), Kings Will Dream (IRE).

Lancaster Bomber (USA), Langley (JPN), Latrobe (IRE), Le Romain (AUS), Lean Mean Machine (AUS), Lord Fandango (GER), Lucius Tiberius (IRE).

Magic Wand (IRE), Mantastic (IRE), Merovee (AUS), Mig Energy (AUS), Mighty Boss (AUS), Milseain (NZ), Miss Fabulass (AUS), More Sundays (AUS), Mr Garcia (GB), Mr Moonlight Magic (GB), Murless (NZ).

Neorealism (JPN), Nettoyer (AUS), Night's Watch (NZ), Not A Single Cent (AUS).

Ocean Emperor (NZ), Oohood (AUS), Orderofthegarter (IRE), Oregon's Day (AUS), Our Venice Beach (IRE).

Payroll (AUS), Pharrell (FR), Pierata (AUS), Plein Ciel (GER), Poetic Dream (IRE), Poet's Word (IRE), Prized Icon (AUS).

Radipole (IRE), Red Cardinal (IRE), Red Excitement (AUS), Rhododendron (IRE), Riven Light (IRE), Roman Son (AUS), Romancer (NZ), Rostropovich (IRE).

Samovare (AUS), Santos (AUS), Satono Rasen (JPN), Savvy Coup (NZ), Saxon Warrior (JPN), Scott Base (NZ), Seabrook (NZ), Seaburge (AUS), Self Sense (AUS), Sense Of Occasion (AUS), September (IRE), Shamwow (NZ), Shillelagh (NZ), Siege Of Quebec (AUS), Silent Warrior (AUS), Sir John Lavery (IRE), Sircconi (AUS), Sixties Groove (IRE), Smart Elissim (AUS), Smart Melody (AUS), Spanish Reef (AUS), Spanish Whisper (AUS), Sully (NZ).

The August (AUS), The Autumn Sun (AUS), The Pentagon (IRE), The Taj Mahal (IRE), Thinkin' Big (AUS), Threeandfourpence (USA), Tom Melbourne (IRE), Tosen Basil (JPN), Toulouse (AUS), Trap For Fools (AUS).

Ugo Foscolo (NZ), Unforgotten (AUS), Urban Fox (GB).

Ventura Storm (IRE).

Wheal Leisure (AUS), Whiteley (AUS), Winx (AUS).

Youngstar (AUS).

Zousain (AUS).

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