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Winx is in peak physical condition ahead of the Cox Plate

The two people closest to Winx are content with the preparation the champion has undergone towards a fourth straight Cox Plate victory.

Trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman were at Moonee Valley on Tuesday where Winx went through her paces before a large crowd at Breakfast with the Best.

The work was what they wanted, nothing too fast, enough to blow the cobwebs away and maintain the mare in peak physical condition.

Waller was forthright in his assessment following the work.

“Realistically only two things can beat her and that’s bad luck or a champion,” he said.

With part-owner Peter Tighe choosing barrier six under instruction from Bowman, the jockey says it allows him to ride his race.

Following Tuesday’s draw, Winx was the $1.25 favourite ahead of Benbatl at $8.50 in Cox Plate markets.

Last year’s runner-up Humidor and the James Cummings-trained Avilius share the third line at $17.

Having ridden her to her past three Cox Plate wins, Bowman says Winx has lost none of her powers.

“I think it’s a draw that, depending on how the race is run, I can ride Winx to suit her and suit the race,” Bowman said.

“I’ll have her comfortable as I always do.

“Is she better, it’s very hard to judge but I don’t think she’s gone backwards.

“I’m a little more comfortable this year than I was last year.”

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of the second favourite, is happy with Benbatl after his last piece of work on Monday.

Benbatl is coming off a last-start win in the Caulfield Stakes.

“From the draw he can take a good position early to be somewhere close in the race,” bin Suroor said.

“That’s what he likes.”

Avilius is set to have his first weight-for-age start since joining Cummings and Godolphin Australia earlier in the year.

Cummings said Avilius, who is the joint $11 second favourite for the Melbourne Cup, had done so well since his last-start win in the Bart Cummings he needed another race.

But he does not expect Avilius to be prominent early from his inside draw.

“That’s his style. He drifts off the speed early, so I don’t think we’ll change anything,” Cummings said.

“When it comes to weight-for-age the pressure can go on a long way out.

“He’s not yet proven to have that turn of foot and be competitive but the way he’s going he might be capable of giving them a scare.”

 
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