Honoured Winx returns gesture in her comeback race for the spring
Source: Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph /
TRAINER Chris Waller has ended speculation about champion Winx’s comeback race by confirming she will return next month in the race named in her honour.
She will attempt a record 26th consecutive win in the Group 1 Winx (formerly Warwick) Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 18.
Winx won the weight-for-age race the past two years to kickstart her successful Cox Plate campaigns.
But after she resumed with a seven-length romp in the Chipping Norton Stakes over 1600m in the autumn, debate has raged about whether Waller would miss the Winx Stakes and go first-up into the Chelmsford Stakes.
Waller, who was at Royal Randwick on Saturday before flying to Japan, where he inspected super sire Deep Impact at Northern Farm on Sunday, confirmed Winx would resume in the Winx Stakes.
“She’ll run over 1400m first-up,’’ Waller said. “The Winx Stakes is where she’ll run.
“The Memsie is there the following week but that’s only there if there were washouts.
“It makes it a little bit easier to prepare her here in Sydney.’’
The TAB has the great mare $1.10 favourite to extend her winning streak in the Winx Stakes, breaking the record for consecutive wins she shares with Black Caviar.
Waller said Winx was likely to have a barrier trial on July 20 at Warwick Farm or at Rosehill Gardens three days later.
“She will have two trials and then probably an exhibition gallop before she resumes,’’ Waller said.
Winx was nearly beaten first-up in the Warwick Stakes last year, and then had a struggle to catch tearaway Red Excitement in the Chelmsford Stakes next starts, but Waller isn’t expecting a repeat.
“This time in she looks great, her attitude and body language is great,” Waller said.
“Hughie (Bowman) came over to ride her (Rosehill trackwork) last Thursday morning and he pulled up well, Winx pulled up better.’’
WINX DOESN’T FRIGHTEN GODOLPHIN
WINX is going for an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate this spring but her aura of invincibility isn’t deterring Godolphin, which has confirmed its outstanding European weight-for-age horse, Benbatl, is being set for the Moonee Valley race in October.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said Benbatl, winner of the Group 1 Dubai Turf, would have his next start in Germany in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayeriches Zuchtrennen at Munich on July 29.
“Being a winner of the Dubai Turf, over nine furlongs (1800m), and the G3 Hampton Court Stakes, over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot, the 2040m at Moonee Valley should be the perfect trip for Benbatl,’’ he said.
GOOD ENOUGH TO GO TO CLIMB EVEREST?
NATURE Strip was always in control of the Creswick Stakes at Flemington on Saturday but did the exciting young sprinter do enough to convince slot holders to lock him into a start in the $13 million The Everest?
Trainer Darren Weir makes no secret of his wish to get Nature Strip to The Everest at Royal Randwick on October 13 and at least two slot holders are looking closely at the rising four-year-old despite the sprinter only having 1½ lengths to spare over Creswick rivals.
But Nature Strip led the field into a howling wind — no other early leader won at Flemington — and his 1min10.05sec was more than two seconds faster than Camdus recorded to win the Victorian Sprint Series Final.
Nature Strip firmed from $13 to $11 for The Everest after his Flemington win.
RAY’S SNAPSHOT: ROYAL RANDWICK
Daily Telegraph racing editor Ray Thomas gives his take on the Sydney meeting.
RUN OF THE DAY
Seahampton looked to be giving away too much start at the top of the straight but unleashed a tremendous surge wide out to grab victory in the final few strides. She’s a lightly-raced filly, open to considerable improvement particularly when she steps out to 1600m and further.
FORGET THEY RAN
Invictus Prince was ridden conservatively from his wide barrier and was caught on the worst part of the track when fourth to Philosophy. The former English galloper was having his first Australian start and his effort under the circumstance to make ground late was very good. He can be placed to advantage as he gets out in distance next start.
THE BLACK BOOK
Curragh was starting to move into the race when he was lost momentum twice at a vital stage in the straight. His effort and recover to finish third behind Just Shine was very good. Curragh is ready to win next start.
RIDE OF THE DAY
Tye Angland found cover on Philosophy then took her to extreme outside to find better ground. It was a brilliant tactical effort. Ditto Tim Clark’s winning rider on Seahampton.
NSW RACING — THIS WEEK
Monday: Tamworth, Wagga Wagga
Tuesday: Newcastle, Wellington
Wednesday: Warwick Farm, Grafton
Thursday: Grafton, Kembla Grange
Saturday: Rosehill Gardens, Wyong, Port Macquarie, Cowra
Sunday: Hawkesbury, Grafton