Hugh Bowman heads out on Winx on Tuesday for a gallop at Breakfast with the Best at Moonee Valley. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Hugh Bowman heads out on Winx on Tuesday for a gallop at Breakfast with the Best at Moonee Valley. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

UK commentator has crack at Winx

WINX'S ranking as the world's best racehorse is under threat unless she wins her fourth successive Cox Plate by a convincing margin on Saturday.

So says English racing commentator Matt Chapman, who caused quite a stir at the Cox Plate barrier draw function at Moonee Valley on Tuesday when he questioned the quality of opposition Winx had beaten in her 28-race winning streak.

Chapman said if the international handicappers "do their job properly" then England's Cracksman should be rated the best horse in the world after his Champion Stakes win at Ascot last weekend.

It might have been good-natured banter but Chapman did point out that Benbatl, considered Winx's main rival in the Cox Plate, was not rated near Europe's elite racehorses.

"Back home we feel Winx is beating fairly moderate horses," Chapman said.

"Slightly, this was proved in the (Caulfield Cup) result with Best Solution, when all the horses Winx had been beaten were 'stuffed' out of sight, although it was a completely different type of race.

Winx is in great shape heading into the Cox Plate. Picture: AAP
Winx is in great shape heading into the Cox Plate. Picture: AAP

"The only link we kind of have to Winx is Highland Reel and everyone will say, 'Oh Winx beat Highland Reel'.

"But you have to remember, when she beat Highland Reel he was a very young horse, he had hardly done anything at that stage.''

Winx defeated Ireland's outstanding Highland Reel by nearly six lengths when she won her first Cox Plate in 2015.

Sydney's super mare has been untouchable ever since and is $1.25 favourite with Ladbrokes Fixed Odds to win her fourth successive Cox Plate on Saturday.

Cracksman (left) should be rated the world’s best horse, according to English racing  commentator Mark Chapman. Picture: Getty Images
Cracksman (left) should be rated the world’s best horse, according to English racing commentator Mark Chapman. Picture: Getty Images

But Chapman believes Winx needs to make a real statement in the Cox Plate in winning by a big margin to stay on top of the official World's Best Racehorse Rankings.

"Hugh Bowman doesn't want to sit 10 lengths or 15 lengths off Benbatl, because this is one of those very strange European horses that seems to run better when he is abroad,'' Chapman said.

"Back home, Benbatl would be nowhere near our best horses at a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m) or a mile-and-a-half (2400m), which are Enable and Cracksman.

"And Cracksman, some of you might have seen in the Champions Stakes at the weekend, I hate to say this in an Australian room, if the handicappers do their job properly he will now be the best horse in the world, if he is rated on what he did at the weekend."