Winx rivals queuing up in bid to spoil the champ’s big Randwick party
Source: RAY THOMAS, The Daily Telegraph /
CHAMPION Winx won’t lack for opposition when she bids to equal Black Caviar’s record of 25 consecutive wins in the Group 1 $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Winx has an aura of invincibility about her these days — her last defeat was on April 11 three years ago — and she is at almost unbackable odds of $1.15 to win the rich weight-for-age event.
But the mighty mare’s presence hasn’t scared off rival trainers and owners with Doncaster Mile winner Happy Clapper and runner-up Comin’ Through likely Queen Elizabeth Stakes starters.
Humidor, who gave Winx such a race in the Cox Plate last spring, will take her on again, as will proven weight-for-age 2000m specialist Gailo Chop, former Japanese star Ambitious and Irish raider Success Days among others.
Pat Webster, trainer of Happy Clapper, was in interested observer as Winx went through her paces between races at Royal Randwick last Saturday.
“Winx had her hard gallop on the course proper and looked pretty good to me but so did ‘The Clapper’ running a tough, solid mile winning the Doncaster,’’ Webster said.
“They are both ready to go. Winx is a champion, up there with the best we will ever see, and it’s just about impossible to beat her but what do they say, you can’t win it if you are not in it.’’
Webster said he has been pleasantly surprised how well Happy Clapper has come through his race record-winning Doncaster run.
“I won’t need to do a lot with him this week, it’s just a matter of keeping him looking and feeling well,’’ the trainer said.
Webster revealed Happy Clapper won’t be kept in training for a Brisbane winter carnival campaign as he is already planning an assault on the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 13.
“We are thinking seriously about The Everest so that means ‘The Clapper’ needs to spend some time in the spelling paddock to be nice and fresh for the spring,’’ Webster said.
“He has a great Randwick record and a race like The Everest probably suits him because there will be so much speed on.
“I’ll give him one trial going into it and he can probably settle a little closer than a lot of people think because I’ll be training him for a 1200m race.’’
Irish trainer Ken Condon has arrived in Sydney to oversee Success Days’s preparation for Saturday’s big race but he conceded the grey is probably racing for second behind Winx.
“Winx is a phenomenon, she’s a superstar, she’s so well regarded everywhere,’’ Condon told Racing NSW.
“All horse lovers and racing aficionados appreciate the record she has put together and the job that (trainer) Chris Waller and his team have done with her.
“It’s great to see her rising seven and keeping that unbeaten run going, and she looks to me to be as good as ever.
“Realistically, on form lines, he couldn’t match Winx but there’s such great prizemoney on offer and if he runs his best race he’s very capable of running in the first four.’’