Poet's Word (Image: Steven Cargill/Racingfotos.com)
If Paul Bloodworth's dream comes true, Winx will need be at her absolute best to win an unprecedented fourth-consecutive Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley in October.
Racing Victoria's international recruiter announced 26 overseas entries for the $5 million feature on Monday, including outstanding galloper Poet's Word, a horse many experts expect to be rated second to Winx when the newest set of international ratings are released in the next week.
Trained by legendary British horseman Sir Michael Stoute, the five-year-old has risen to prominence this season with wins in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2400m).
While Bloodworth acknowledged the temptation of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (2400m) at Longchamp could keep Poet's Word in Europe this year, he said RV and the Moonee Valley Racing Club would continue to make a strong case for connections to campaign the superstar in Melbourne. "Poet's Word is the highest-rated horse in Europe now so it means we've got the two highest-rated horses in the world with him and Winx nominated for the race," Bloodworth said.
"My understanding is that he (Poet's Word) is going to the Juddmonte International on the 22nd of August at York and their target could turn out to be the Arc.
"When we first invited him, he was rated 118 and he's going to be rated about 130 now after his two wins at Ascot.
"So there will be a challenge to pry him away from the classic races in Europe but we'll be talking to Sir Michael Stoute and the owner (Saeed Suhail) over the next few weeks and hopefully we'll be able to secure him for the Cox Plate."
Irish maestro Aidan O'Brien has upped his quest for a second Cox Plate - the legendary horseman claimed the race in 2014 with Adelaide - with 14 horses entered, including dual Group 1 winner Saxon Warrior.
Bloodworth believes the last-start Coral Eclipse (2000m) runner-up is the ideal Cox Plate candidate and also said three-year-olds Lucius Tiberius and Hunting Horn, who contest Saturday's Group 1 Secretariat Stakes (2000m) at Arlington, could also come into the picture for a spring campaign.
"Saxon Warrior is the one (for Aidan), he's a Group 1 winner at two in the Racing Post Trophy (1600m), he won the Guineas (1600m) earlier this year, he's run well in the two Derbies in England and Ireland and then ran second in the Eclipse at his last start," he said.
"He is a superstar horse rated 121 and the interesting thing with him is that it doesn't look like he stays so a race like the Arc is probably off the agenda for him and I'm sort of hopeful that Aidan might see the Cox Plate as a realistic alternative.
"He has also indicated that he'll again target a race that he's used before for Highland Reel and Adelaide, the Secretariat Stakes for three-year-olds which is on in America this weekend, and if one of his horses could win he's flagged that they might be on the plane to Melbourne."
Click here to view the full list of Cox Plate nominations.