Group 1 racing returns to Sydney for the primary time since early October, and there’s no higher method than for such an occasion to be headlined by the best of our time, and doubtless the best of all time, Winx.
Chipping Norton Stakes
We’re creeping up on 4 years since Winx final tasted defeat, a staggering achievement of equine athleticism, expertise and stamina from the horse herself, grasp coaching effort from all concerned on the Chris Waller workforce, and nerveless judgement from Hugh Bowman who has been aboard all however two of her 30-race successful streak.
Winx has gained three Chipping Nortons already, all of them effortlessly, and whereas nothing is for certain in racing or life, she is unquestionably destined to make it 4 come Saturday afternoon.
An eclectic mixture of horses have run second to Winx in her three earlier Chipping Norton’s – Dibayani, Lasqueti Spirit and Prized Icon.
None of those might maintain a candle to Blissful Clapper, who traces up right here within the race for minor prizemoney behind the nice mare. He resumed behind Winx within the Apollo Stakes, chasing her dwelling for the seventh time in his profession, 4 of these ending second.
He has change into the Hay Record to her Black Caviar, a star in his personal proper however nowhere near her.
Blissful Clapper will hopefully run nicely once more on his method right down to Melbourne for the All-Star Mile at Flemington, the place he has been awarded a wildcard.
Chris Waller stables the remainder of the sector.
Three of those, Patrick Erin, Libran and Brimham Rocks, are on the Sydney Cup path, and want the run at a mile on their method up in distance via their marketing campaign.
The opposite two are Egg Tart and Unforgotten, with each mares resuming within the Apollo Stakes behind Winx and Blissful Clapper and doing sufficient for a first-up efficiency.
Unforgotten has run on the Randwick mile twice earlier than, each final preparation, for a win within the Chelmsford Stakes and third within the Epsom Handicap behind Hartnell. As a four-year-old within the autumn, it’s time to seek out out precisely the place she sits within the WFA ranks.
Egg Tart, like Unforgotten, was as soon as thought to be the subsequent Winx, however such claims are normally tongue-in-cheek. She was crushed as favorite a few instances within the spring, and has solely gained one race since her three-year-old season when she completed with six wins in a row together with the South Australian and Queensland Oaks.
Blissful Clapper will in all probability be compelled to take up the working, and Bowman will settle Winx the place she is snug within the early and center phases earlier than making a transfer when he thinks the time is true. From there, it is going to solely be a query of how far.
2. Blissful Clapper
four. Egg Tart
The Encompass Stakes has been round for some time however is among the latest Group 1’s in Australian racing, being awarded that standing earlier than the 2018 version.
This 12 months sees a fair betting race with no stand-out filly among the many three-year-old’s collaborating.
Greater than half of the sector hits the Encompass after working within the Mild Fingers over 1200m a fortnight in the past, stepping as much as 1400m now.
Nakeeta Jane gained the race, robust late after tenting behind a pacesetter that was setting a busy tempo up entrance. The final time we noticed her she ran third within the Group 1 Flight Stakes coming off a maiden win, so we are able to say now that she is a top quality filly.
Madam Rouge was sport in second, solely getting collared late after taking on on the 300m. She’s by no means been essentially the most real horse, and also you by no means fairly know what you’re going to get from her, however maybe she has matured after having a spell.
The attention-catcher of the Mild Fingers was Pohutukawa, who had settled within the final three or 4 after which needed to make a significant shift off heels from the 200m, ducking three or 4 horses to the within. As soon as in clear air she let down like an excellent horse, and it’s price remembering her mushy last-to-first win at Flemington in Cup week – she beat Madam Rouge into second that day, which franks her expertise fairly nicely.
El Dorado Dreaming was trustworthy in fourth within the Mild Fingers, however didn’t present the acceleration of Nakeeta Jane or Pohutukawa who went previous her like she was nailed to the fence. She is likely to be searching for additional already.
Soften completed within the ruck after sitting useful and acquired handed by a couple of. She doesn’t look high class. Greysful Glamour’s return was a move mark for a horse on an Oaks path.
Miss Fabulass was despatched out the second favorite within the Mild Fingers and put in a fundamental efficiency, failing to make an impression within the closing phases. She will be able to put in a nasty one, however has been recognized to bounce again.
Oohood was much more bizarre than Miss Fabulass, and didn’t do a factor from the tail of the sector. The jury is now out on the Flight Stakes winner, who additionally ran third behind The Autumn Solar within the Caulfield Guineas.
Fiesta is the present Encompass favorite and is ceaselessly across the mark. The one two instances she’s missed a spot had been the Golden Slipper and Thousand Guineas, and took out the million greenback Inglis Dash at Warwick Farm on resumption three week in the past. It’s exhausting to suppose she gained’t be someplace across the mark.
Seabrook and Fundamentalist, each placegetters within the Thousand Guineas the place Fiesta failed, are up from Melbourne.
Fundamentalist has been positioned at Group 1 degree 3 times, together with behind The Autumn Solar at two and in opposition to the older mares within the Empire Rose final prep. Randwick hasn’t been to her liking to date although, twice nicely crushed when taking up various these horses within the Tea Rose and Flight Stakes final spring.
Seabrook, alternatively, has already gained twice at Randwick, no imply feat for a Victorian filly. Tackling the race first-up means she is one thing of an unknown, however she’s acquired a strong end on her when proper, and will nicely shock if the tempo is on.
There are a handful of much less credentialled horses hitting the race, with Zalatte the decide of those. From the Chris Waller yard and unbeaten in three begins, she’s additionally first-up right here, however has been backed steadily all week. One among her wins was beating Baller into second, who resumed himself with a win at Rosehill final Saturday, and appears a promising colt.
Sister Sledge is coming off a six-length win in maiden grade and might be the chief. Fundamentalist ought to be up there, Soften might push throughout from a large draw, and Madam Rouge might make use of an excellent barrier once more to push up.
four. Nakeeta Jane
Outdoors the Group 1s, there’s another good racing at Randwick.
The Skyline Stakes sees the Melbourne two-year-old kind via Microphone pitted up in opposition to the Sydney B-graders as all of them head to the Golden Slipper. Microphone appears to be like a traditional Godolphin skilled, and the steady is firing on all cylinders in the intervening time.
The Candy Embrace is the fillies two-year-old race on the day, and Enood appears to be like over the percentages with a second to Blue Diamond winner Lyre on her resume. Admittedly she’s coming off a fifth in a Warwick Farm maiden, however was coming from final in a race dominated by these within the first 4.
The Man Walter Stakes can also be being run, for the older mares over 1400m. The up-and-coming Manicure, evenly raced for James Cummings, appears to be like one other nice probability for Godolphin to win a stakes race, whereas the underrated Bella Martini is due a win and will add some worth.
However Randwick shall be all about Winx on Saturday. We’re attending to the tip of her profession now, regardless that it appears she’s racing in addition to ever, and that is in all probability going to be the third final time we see her.