First to last: Who wins the Cox Plate?
There are plenty of chances in the first Cox Plate without Winx but Japanese raider Lys Gracieux does look the goods.
She is the top pick for the $5 million weight-for-age race but predicting the finishing order behind her wasn't easy.
Here is how CHRIS VERNUCCIO believes the Cox Plate will finish from first to last.
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1. LYS GRACIEUX
Last-start winner in one of Japan's strongest WFA races. The word is the star mare is vastly superior to last week's Caulfield Cup Mer De Glace.
2. MYSTIC JOURNEY
Poor tactics in the Turnbull Stakes when she was ridden too far back. Could not have drawn any better than five (when the emergencies are taken out) where she can be positioned behind the speed.
Another given a quiet ride leading into the target race. Should be at his peak now and any rain will be a bonus.
Keeping her safe on the back of her Group 1 win in Germany over 2000m. Scratched from Caulfield Stakes as a precaution, which is a small concern.
It's been a messy prep for the Champagne Stakes winner but he rebounded in the Spring Champion Stakes behind Shadow Hero last start, showing he's a dangerous proposition at this distance.
6. CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
The import won the Caulfield Stakes at big odds in his debut for David Hayes but shouldn't be underestimated.
7. TE AKAU SHARK
Went within a nose of winning the Group 1 Epsom Handicap last start but he'll jump from the widest gate at his first attempt at the trip.
8. MAGIC WAND
Last win was 18 months ago but the Irish raider is never far away with eight placings from his past 13 start.
The other Japanese contender who performed above expectations in the Sydney autumn when fourth behind Brutal in the Doncaster Mile and second to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
10. VERRY ELLEEGANT
She was no match for Avilius two starts back and although she knuckled down to win the Group 2 Hill Stakes, that doesn't appear to be the right form. A wet track does enhance her chances.
Lost some admirers after his disappointing run last start in the Caulfield Stakes, but it's wort pointing out he did bounce back from a similar effort in the same race last year to finish second in the Caulfield Cup.
12. KINGS WILL DREAM
No knock on him following his win in the Turnbull Stakes - ahead of Mystic Journey - and no reason why he can't finish in the top six, but the wide barrier makes it tough for him.
13. BLACK HEART BART
His return to form has been remarkable but the Cox Plate will present a different level of pressure.
Take out his third in the Caulfield Stales, his form has been poor since his Australian Cup win in the autumn.