Moonee Valley produced a memorable and drama-packed two day carnival at the weekend, capped by Winx’s historic third Cox Plate.
Here is our WPR review of the key performers.
In the context of the moment, it mattered little what ‘number’ Winx would produce in Saturday’s Cox Plate – as long as she won.
And that’s what she did, finding a little extra when required at the business end.
This 110 WPR figure does not come close to matching her two previous Cox Plate ratings (115.5, 113), but there were some mitigating factors.
It was clear she was not happy in the barriers, where she was clearly agitated. She then had to endure a mostly wide trip behind a good genuine Group 1 speed being set by Gailo Chop.
Additionally, and we touched on this earlier in the spring, this was the fifth run of her campaign. In her last three preparations she’s only had four runs and wind the clock back to her first Cox Plate and it was only her third run of that prep.
It would be an interesting proposition if Chris Waller were to press on for a sixth start in the Emirates (Mackinnon). There’s $2million up for grabs, but the risk may well be greater than that. She has nothing left to prove this time around.
He gave Winx a real test and that was as much about her being below the 113-115 peaks she’s demonstrated in the past and Humidor running to a big new peak himself, up from 106.2 in the Makybe Diva. A 109.4 is an elite G1 WFA figure.
The performance lifted him to the top of Melbourne Cup betting charts, but whether he can be as effective at 3200m is an unknown.
On talent though, a 109.4 WPR with 56kg translates to a rating which ‘at the weights’ is just above the 10 year average for the Cup and comfortably above the last two winners Almandin and Prince Of Penzance.
HEY DOC: 101.5
This was a slight new peak, up from his 101 and it must be said a shrewd piece of training by Tony McEvoy to switch back from the mile and have him ready and waiting for a group of rivals that were coming off tough Sydney runs.
He set a strong speed in front and gave those chasing every possible chance. To further emphasise that, this race clocked the slowest rating L200m figure on the night.
The fact he was able to win in a 101.5 – around two lengths below respectable G1 WFA standard – says just as much about those chasing.
Vega Magic flopped.
English was beaten 20+lengths after being vetted at the start.
In Her Time rated down from her 104.5 figures in her last two, to just 101 here.
The In Her Time reference might make it appear there’s a case for Hey Doc to have been superior to his 101.5, but the speed measures don’t justify the figure being any higher.
The time rating was just fair and coupled with very moderate final sectionals, there was a clear lack of substance in the figures.
LUCKY HUSSLER: 104.2
This was a genuine G2 WFA figure run by a horse who is genuinely up to that level, but it seems these days, only on rare occasions.
This was a sudden return to something like his peak form, not dissimilar to him winning in a 103.5 at Sandown last year off a poor ratings platform.
He has a career peak of 106 in the 2015 G1 William Reid and clearly showed a liking for the Valley again on Saturday.
She was able to repeat her dominant Thousand Guineas win with an identical rating performance up to 2040m, trouncing the boys in the process.
Nothing is guaranteed in racing, but on exposed talent, she has many lengths on the other 3YO fillies headed towards the VRC Oaks.
Her Thousand Guineas rating highlighted to us that she is the best performed 3YO filly we’ve seen this season (better than Alizee and She Will Reign) and Saturday’s run confirms that further.
This Queensland-trained three-year-old exploded to a big new peak after coming off a previous best 93 rating in a last start Bendigo BM70.
He got away with a very slow pace in front and was able to sprint a nice 600m to win in dominant style. That’s also been the scenario in his two prior wins this preparation as well.
At 101.5 he would be a contender in the Coolmore, with a slight question mark about whether he can maintain that level of performance if tested with a more genuine speed early.
Another to reach a new peak on Saturday, up from 98.8.
Her win from the front was stamped by a very fast time rating.
WHO SHOT THEBARMAN: 99
The old stager did a great job to win, as he was unsuited by the moderate speed set by Cismontane. His last 200m rating was clearly the best of all winners on the day.
Even if we allow some extra merit for the nature of his win, with 54kg in the Melbourne Cup he’s the type of horse that could finish top 6 but is still likely to be well short of the winning standard.