Chipping Norton Stakes: Red-hot favourite Winx set to run at historic odds

Source: RAY THOMAS, Racing Editor, The Daily Telegraph /

CHAMPION mare Winx is set to start the shortest favourite in a Sydney Group 1 race for nearly 60 years in the $600,000 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The racehorse, rated the world’s best on turf, was installed at $1.08 by TAB Fixed Odds price assessors to win her 23rd race in succession, but firmed in to $1.06 after a field of nine was declared on Wednesday for the big race.

“She has come in to $1.06 off the back of Endless Drama and Comin’ Through not being final acceptors,” TAB’s Andrew Georgiou said. “Our traders had those two horses as clearly the main dangers, if any, to the champion mare. Without them lining up on Saturday, they believe there is pretty much no threat to Winx’s winning streak ending here.”

If Winx starts at $1.06 or shorter, she will be the hottest favourite in a Sydney major since Valerius won the same race, the 1961 Chipping Norton, at odds of $1.03 (33/1 on).

The only horse to start at shorter odds than Valerius in a Group 1 race was Ajax at $1.02 (40/1 on) in the 1939 Rawson (now Ranvet) Stakes when he was famously beaten by Spear Chief.

The great Black Caviar did go to the post at $1.03 when she won the 2013 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley but in her only two Sydney starts, the 2011 and 2013 TJ Smith Stakes, she was at $1.14 both times.

It seems “bad luck” is Winx’s main opposition as she attempts to claim a record 16th Group 1 win in the Chipping Norton. Black Caviar also won 15 Group 1 races during her unbeaten 25-start career.

The great mare will take on eight opponents in the Chipping Norton, including stablemates Who Shot Thebarman and Libran.

1. CLASSIC UNIFORM (2) / A Adkins / 59kg
2. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (3) / T Angland / 59kg
3. LIBRAN (1) / B Avdulla / 59kg
4. PRIZED ICON (4) / G Schofield / 59kg
5. STAMPEDE (5) / T Clark / 59kg
6. JEMADAR (9) / A Hyeronimus / 59kg
7. WINX (6) / H Bowman / 57kg
8. LASQUETI SPIRIT (7) / J Ford / 57kg
9. VINLAND (8) / K McEvoy / 56kg

Despite Winx’s prohibitive odds, TAB’s Glenn Munsie said the mighty mare won’t stifle betting on the Chipping Norton Stakes.

“There are plenty of punters who still want to be on Winx,’’ Munsie said.

“They regard backing Winx as better than bank interest. It is an eight per cent earn on your money for about 95 seconds work.

“Some of the bigger punters see it as a very good way of getting a nice collect and more often than not Winx doesn’t even raise a sweat winning.’’

The biggest bets TAB has taken on Winx were $106,500 and $100,000 at $1.15 before she won her third successive Cox Plate last spring. In Sydney, the biggest bet the TAB’s held against the great mare was $75,000 at $1.10 before her runaway Queen Elizabeth Stakes win last year. There was also a wager of $72,000 at $1.08 before Winx won the George Main Stakes last spring. The TAB has taken bets of $50,000 or more on 14 occasions in last 12 months on Winx as the mare continued her long winning streak.