Last weekend’s Coronation Cup-winner Highland Reel has been invited back to contest October’s renewal of the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, along with several other international challengers.
The five-year-old ran in the 2015 edition of Moonee Valley’s showpiece event but was unable to trouble Australia’s superstar racemare Winx when finishing over five-lengths behind in third.
Second in the latest Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, Winx extended her winning sequence to 17 when spread-eagling her rivals in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April.
All being well, her trainer Chris Waller will no doubt be hoping his top performer can make it a third Cox Plate in a row come the day deep into Australia’s springtime.
Michael Browell, chief executive of Moonee Valley Racing Club, told www.racing.com: “The international invitational model is very important for the Moonee Valley Racing Club.
“In 2016, the Cox Plate was the highest-rated turf race in the world, with Winx on a rating of 132.
“We’re keen to make sure we can maintain the quality of the race, and to do that, we need to make sure we get these quality internationals to come through.”
Other invitees to the £1.7 million race include the Charlie Appleby-trained Scottish.
We’re keen to make sure we can maintain the quality of the race
The gelded son of Teofilo has been extended an invitation after finishing a creditable three-length second to Jameka in the Caulfield Cup last year.
Lockinge hero Ribchester and Roger Charlton’s Decorated Knight also feature on the list, as does Al Shaqab’s Mekhtaal who only last month was seen narrowly prevailing in the Prix d’Ispahan.
The remaining horses to be offered an invitation include two of Japan’s best thoroughbreds, Neorealism and Makahiki, and Hong Kong sensation Werther.