WHILE Winx and Hartnell dominate the betting for Saturday's $3 million Cox Plate, the trainer of fourth favourite Yankee Rose says the pair cannot afford to slip up against his three-year-old filly.
With only 47.5kg on Yankee Rose's back, against Winx's 57kg and Hartnell's 59kg, David Vandyke gives his dual Group 1 winner a chance on the tight Moonee Valley circuit.
"I'm not confident she can beat the two superstars, but they would want to be bringing their A-games because our filly is,” Vandyke told the Herald Sun.
"She's a fantastic filly and I'm just looking at seeing how she goes against the best.
"She's eating well, mentally she's in a good place and physically she's in perfect condition.”
A $10,000 purchase as a yearling, Yankee Rose has already provided her 20 part-owners with a magic ride.
After winning the only two starts of her first preparation and resuming with a second in this year's Golden Slipper (1200m), she took out the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in early April and was then sent to the paddock.
After a disappointing first-up sixth in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) on September 10, the filly got back to form in the Flight Stakes (Group 1, 1600m), finishing a close second, before taking out the Spring Champion Stakes (Group 1, 2000m) at Randwick last start on October 8.
"Between the 400m and the 200m last start, she ran 10.78 (seconds) towards the end of the 2000m Group 1, and she's dropping seven kilograms off that,” Vandyke told Racing Ahead this week.
Jockey Dean Yendall has further fuelled the trainer's confidence, offering a glowing report of Yankee Rose's work at Tuesday's Breakfast with the Best at Moonee Valley.
Drawn in barrier one, Yankee Rose was listed at $15 with most betting operators.
History is against her, with Surround being the only three-year-old filly to have won the Cox Plate since its inception in 1922.