Ryan Moore: The views on my two weekend rides at Moonee Valley
Globetrotting Ryan Moore is at Moonee Valley for two rides this weekend including one in the big race, the Cox Plate, as he tries to lower the colours of Aussie superstar Winx...
"You can question the merit of the opposition all you want, but for any horse to win 28 races in a row, especially given her run-style, is mind-blowing stuff."
Need a big step forward to beat supreme talent Winx
07:00 Moonee Valley (Saturday) - Rostropovich
Being drawn widest on Rostropovich is probably not ideal, with Benbatl no doubt looking to skip clear from three, but I am not that concerned about it to be honest with you - there are only eight runners, after all - and I managed to get Adelaide home in front from Fawkner from stall 13 here back in 2014.
Then Winx came on the scene, and she has dominated domestically ever since.
Of course, the analysis of this race could very easily begin and end with her, and I think some people over here are a bit blasé about her phenomenal achievements in the past three years.
You can question the merit of the opposition all you want, but for any horse to win 28 races in a row, especially given her run-style, is mind-blowing stuff.
And for so many of those victories to come in Group 1 company, three of which have come in this very race, just further underlines a supreme talent, and a formidable training feat.
Common sense dictates that the winning run must come to an end at some point - or so we would like to think, anyway - but I don't think any of the opposition will be anywhere approaching confident of lowering her colours.
That said, you have to take heart from the likes of Benbatl, Yucatan and Best Solution coming over here and winning top prizes in recent weeks, and Rostropovich is an Irish Derby runner-up who warmed up for this contest when winning a Group 3 over 1m4f last time, and is the only 3yo in the line-up.
The step down in trip against pacier types, and much higher-rated horses too, presents him with a very big challenge, but he coped well with a test of speed when winning the Dee Stakes at Chester and the ground looks like being in his favour.
He is fresh too, and he gets the weight allowance, but he does need to take a big, big step forward here, and the Melbourne Cup is his end goal.
A lot of time for Benbatl
Benbatl showed he is a proper Group 1 horse on his day when winning the Dubai Turf back in March, and he would have delighted connections when just seeing off Blair House at Caulfield earlier in the month.
He doesn't need to lead but he likes to go forward and no-one will want to see a horse of his talent get an easy time of it on the front end in a small field.
He is a horse that I have always had a lot of time for, but he has come up short on a few occasions when tried in Group 1 company at home. And while he did put up a big effort last time, he did have a very hard race and backing up here will not be easy for him.
Humidor got to with ½ length of Winx in this race last year and looks very solid, but you have to be honest, and that is if Winx runs her race yet again, then it is going to be 29 wins and counting.
Chances if we can break on terms
11:30 Moonee Valley (Friday) - US Navy Flag
I would have got my eye in by riding US Navy Flag in the Manikato Stakes on the Friday - Aidan has four in here - and hopefully the ground will be a lot more to his liking than it was in the Everest.
The heavy ground was never going to play to his strengths there but it was pretty much game over from the start anyway, as he completely missed the kick.
If he is able to get off on terms from stall two and reproduce the form of his July Cup win, then he certainly has the ability to give these a race.
As ever though, the home sprinters are never to be underestimated and Sunlight looks the obvious up-and-comer, but there are several others with similar, and sound enough, claims.
But my horse thrives on his racing, and I expect him to be very competitive if he is on his A-game.