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Japanese star Almond Eye headlines the Moonee Valley Racing Club’s wish list of invited runners for the Cox Plate.

The MVRC has issued 11 invitations from four jurisdictions for the $5 million Cox Plate on October 26.

Almond Eye, a five-time Group One winner, is one of five Japanese horses invited to contest the weight-for-age race which will this year be without four-time winner Winx.

“Winx has undoubtedly helped elevate the status of our legendary race overseas and without her presence this year the invitations will be made even more attractive to connections of these star international horses,” MVRC chief executive Michael Browell said.

Besides Almond Eye, Group One winners Aerolithe, Indy Champ and Kiseki have been invited from Japan, along with Kluger who finished second to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April.

Last year’s Cox Plate runner-up Benbatl is one of three Godolphin horses targeted with his stablemate from the yard of Saeed bin Suroor, Best Solution, and Ghaiyyath for Charlie Appleby.

Aidan O’Brien, who won the last Cox Plate without the presence of Winx in 2014 with Adelaide, has Magical invited while Crystal Ocean, having finished second to to champions Cracksman and Enable, has earned an invite for Sir Michael Stoute with the Roger Varian-trained Zabeel Prince rounding out the list.

The MVRC worked closely with Racing Victoria to identify the list of invited horses who will have all their expenses covered if their connections bring them to Australia.

Invited runners:

Aerolithe (Japan) Trainer Takanori Kikuzawa

Almond Eye (Japan) Sakae Kunieda

Benbatl (UAE) Saeed bin Suroor

Best Solution (UAE) Saeed bin Suroor

Crystal Ocean (UK) Sir Michael Stoute

Ghaiyyath (UK) Charlie Appleby

Indy Champ (Japan) Hidetaka Otonashi

Kiseki (Japan) Katsuhiko Sumii

Kluger (Japan) Tomokazu Takano

Magical (Ireland) Aidan O’Brien

Zabeel Prince (UK) Roger Varian

 
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