Hugh Bowman (centre) rides Winx to victory in the Caulfield Stakes earlier this month.
Hugh Bowman (centre) rides Winx to victory in the Caulfield Stakes earlier this month. JULIAN SMITH

Punters can't get enough of Winx

WITH punters continuing to put their faith in unbeaten mare Winx defending her Cox Plate crown, the five-year-old is set to start the shortest-price favourite in the race since So You Think went around at $1.50 in 2010.

The lone firmer in the betting since Tuesday's barrier draw, Winx was listed in the $1.85 to $1.95 range today by the major betting outlets.

TAB reported that 70% of the money wagered on Saturday's race was being placed on Winx. She would be a horror result for Crownbet, too, with more than 80% of punters putting their money on the mare.

"As the race gets closer it is clear punters are siding with the defending champion Winx in the most highly anticipated Cox Plate in years. Should the rain arrive expect to see support for Lucia Valentina, who is unbeaten on heavy ground and a four-time winner on the soft,” TAB's Nick Quinn said.

Godolphin galloper Hartnell is seen as the main danger to Winx but has drifted in the betting. He was around the $3 mark after Tuesday's barrier draw but was listed at between $3.40 and $3.70 with various bookmakers this afternoon.

Chautauqua remains the favourite for tomorrow night's Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) but has drifted in the betting to about $2.40 after being as short as $2.10.

The winner of last year's Manikato, Chautauqua is coming off an unlucky first-up fourth in the Moir Stakes (1000m) at the Valley and has an excellent second-up record of two wins, three seconds and a third from six starts.

Meanwhile, the winner of yesterday's Geelong Cup, Godolphin stayer Qewy, has been given the minimum Melbourne Cup penalty of half a kilo.

It takes him to 50.5kg in the Melbourne Cup and elevates him to 31st in the order of entry.

The penalty is the same additional weight given to Geelong Cup winners Dunaden (2011) and Americain (2010) before they won the Melbourne Cup in those years.

Almost certainly assured of a start in the 24-horse field, Qewy is in line to become the fourth internationally prepared horse to complete the Geelong Cup/Melbourne Cup double, following Media Puzzle (2002), Dunaden and Americain.

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