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Cox Plate rivals running scared of Winx?

Hugh Bowman rides Winx (right) past the post in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne last year.
Hugh Bowman rides Winx (right) past the post in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne last year. JULIAN SMITH

IN what already looms as race of history and records, Winx could face just four rivals in Saturday's $3 million Cox Plate.

Such is Winx's commanding aura, only Gailo Chop, Happy Clapper, Folkswood and Royal Symphony have been confirmed as starters before tomorrow's 8am final acceptance deadline.

But the field could be boosted to 10 with The Taj Mahal, Tom Melbourne, Abbey Marie, Kaspersky and Seaburge still in the mix.

With prizemoney of $60,000 on offer to horses finishing sixth to eighth, it's likely the final field size will swell to at least eight - a figure that would deliver full place dividends.

Winx is poised to start the shortest-priced favourite since Phar Lap in 1931 and, with victory, would trigger a stream of benchmarks.

She would overtake Makybe Diva as Australia's highest stakes earner, equal Black Caviar's record of 15 Group 1s and match Kingston Town's feat of three straight plates, if successful.

Chasing a 22nd consecutive win, Winx is a TAB $1.15 favourite for Saturday's WFA feature. Phar Lap won his second Plate at $1.07 in 1931.

Uniquely positioned to understand Chris Waller's challenge in handling a champion, Black Caviar trainer Peter Moody agrees with the market summary - but urged challengers not to be intimidated.

"It's (Cox Plate victory) a foregone conclusion unless something leads to her unforeseen demise, and that's the last thing anyone wants to see," Moody said.

"But you've got to take her on and you just can't shy away from one horse.

"If horses have been aimed for it, you've got to have a go.

"There were times I said to connections with different horses in my stable running against Black Caviar that as long as 'your a---holes point to the ground, you won't beat her', but there's terrific prizemoney on offer for second, third and fourth.

"Particularly with the fillies and mares, it adds great status to get that black type in their pedigrees."

If Winx creates history on Saturday, she will collect $1.8 million - a windfall which will boost her earnings to $15,577,925, propelling her past triple Melbourne Cup winner and fellow Cox Plate victor Makybe Diva's $14,527,110.

Moody said comparisons with unbeaten sprinter Black Caviar were unfair.

"Winx's a superstar. I'm not about comparing them," he said. "There's never another Black Caviar. She was undefeated (in 25 starts) but this mare will go past her in Group 1 wins."

News Corp Australia