RACING Trainers fear Winx factor
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.