RAC­ING Train­ers fear Winx fac­tor

Townsville Bulletin - - RACING - MATT STE­WART

THE hold.

Trainer Tony McEvoy says he would be loath to pit Royal Sym­phony against the mer­cu­rial mare in the Cox Plate, even if the three- year- old smashes his Caulfield Guineas ri­vals and emerges as her only pos­si­ble threat.

“It would feel al­most ir­re­spon­si­ble to do it to him,” McEvoy said of Royal Sym­phony, who is un­beaten and a hot favourite for Oc­to­ber’s Guineas.

Royal Sym­phony is also a $ 34 chance for the Cox Plate and the only horse among the Cox Plate en­tries who rep­re­sents an un­fa­mil­iar “wild­card” for Winx, the $ 1.40 favourite to win the race for the third straight time on Oc­to­ber 28.

Cox Plate sec­ond favourites Winx ef­fect is tak­ing Hart­nell and High­land Reel, both at $ 26, have been thrashed by Winx; High­land Reel in the 2015 Cox Plate and Hart­nell on a hand­ful of crush­ing oc­ca­sions.

The Moonee Val­ley Rac­ing Club has been buoyed by strong lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional Cox Plate en­tries but the “Winx fac­tor” may yet scare away many of them.

Royal Sym­phony would al­most cer­tainly leap to Cox Plate sec­ond favouritism if he wins the Guineas as eas­ily as var­i­ous rat­ings ex­perts ex­pect.

“I’m just not com­fort­able pit­ting a colt like him against a horse like Winx so early in his devel­op­ment. It could crush him,” McEvoy said.

“You can knock the con­fi­dence out of them, es­pe­cially colts, and I’d say I wouldn’t be rec­om­mend­ing we take on Winx. We’d love to tackle a Cox Plate with him, just not one with Winx in it.”

Royal Sym­phony was so im­pres­sive in three- straight win­ter wins that book­mak­ers posted him a $ 7 fore­cast favourite for the Oc­to­ber 14 Guineas. He is al­most half the price of Ke­men­tari, the next young­ster in the mar­kets at $ 13 and a four- length Rand­wick win­ner in May.

The third favourite for the $ 1 mil­lion Guineas is re­cent nine- length de­but win­ner Esper­ence, at $ 17.

Both Ke­men­tari and Esper­ence are sons of Lonhro and trained by James Cum­mings.

Royal Sym­phony will open his Guineas cam­paign in a 1400m race at Flem­ing­ton on Septem­ber 16, be­fore con­test­ing the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Val­ley be­fore the Guineas.

TA­REE CR

ON SONG: Royal Sym­phony ( right), rid­den by Dwayne Dunn, wins at Flem­ing­ton last month.

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