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Group Racing Preview - Winx's record attempt felt around the world

6 min read

Whenever Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) steps out on a racetrack, it is an internationally significant event.

And even moreso on Saturday at Randwick as the champion mare, now a 7-year-old, attempts her 26th consecutive victory in the race named in her honour, the G1 Winx S.

Very few horses get a chance to win their own race, with the unbeaten mare Black Caviar (Bel Esprit) the last to do so, when she won the G1 Black Caviar Lightning S. in 2013.

And what also makes Saturday so significant is that with a 26th win, Winx would surpass Black Caviar's record for consecutive victory, putting her in a class all of her own.

With a 26th win, Winx would surpass Black Caviar's record for consecutive victory, putting her in a class all of her own.

With those two factors at play, the build up to this race has been as significant in the local media as any of her previous races, even her three G1 Cox Plate wins. She is on the front page of newspapers and the has led national news bulletins this week.

Trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman fed the beast even further suggesting she may have even taken further improvement over the break. It is not the first time Waller has suggested she is 'better than ever' but given her streak, it is not a claim to be trifled with.

"It’s almost impossible for a horse to get better than Winx but there's a chance, I think there’s more chance of her improving than going backwards," Chris Waller

Back to the race itself and it is worth noting that not only has it been renamed, but it has also been upgraded to Group 1. Winx has won it the past two years when it was known at the Warwick S.

The spoiler?

There was a moment this week where that 26th win became anything but a fait accompli. Godolphin trainer James Cummings decided in a late entry for G1 Randwick Guineas winner Kementari (Lonhro), which has built the intrigue considerably.

Kementari was beaten by Winx by 1.6l when he last met her in G1 George Ryder S. in the autumn but has the advantage of having had a first-up run heading into a race his sire won twice.

"A colt that has his stallion profile already, if he was able to pull off the impossible, the impact of that would just be astronomical," James Cummings, trainer.

That additional fitness plus the fact he is been prepared with The Everest in mind has seen plenty suggest Kementari can do the unthinkable.

Speaking earlier this week, Cummings pointed to the impact of an upset on Kementari's future stallion prospects.

"A colt that has his stallion profile already, if he was able to pull off the impossible, the impact of that would just be astronomical," he said.

Kementari

The quality of the race doesn't end there with G1 Rosehill Guineas winner D'Argento (So You Think {NZ}), G1 Victoria Derby winner Ace High (High Chaparral {Ire}) and G1 ATC Oaks winner Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock) all starting out their campaigns.

3-year-olds back to shine

There are four other black-type races on the Randwick card, including two very interesting 3yo races, the G2 Darley Silver Shadow S. for the fillies and the G3 Up and Coming S. for the colts and geldings.

The Silver Shadow over 1200m is the official start of the Darley Princess Series which culminates in the G1 Flight S. on September 29. There's a free stallion nomination to Darley's Ribchester (Ire) to the winning filly.

Oohood (I am Invincible) was three-time G1 placed as a 2-year-old but remains a maiden and resumes here against flying Queensland filly Outback Barbie (Spirit of Boom) and Chris Waller's promising Fiesta (I Am Invincible) as well as Lindsay Park's Futooh (Sebring) who on the strength of her recent Randwick trial win looks to have taken considerable improvement heading into her 3-year-old season.

The G3 Up and Coming S (1300m) is highlighted by the racetrack return of Godolphin's Encryption (Lonhro) who will be looking to emulate the deeds his dam Guelph, who won three Group races, including two Group 1s, early in her 3-year-old season.

Lindsay Park bring unbeaten Smart Elissim (Smart Missile) up to Sydney for this race, while Peter and Paul Snowden's Military Zone (Epaulette) also has two wins under his belt this campaign.

Randwick also hosts the G3 Show County Quality (1200m) and the G3 Toy Show Quality (1300m).

Heading south

Caulfield also features two important 3-year-old sprints in the G3 Quezette S. and the G3 Vain S.

The Quezette S. features a host of talented fillies notably Magic Millions 2YO winner Sunlight (Zoustar), who was beaten first up in Adelaide by Nature Strip (Nicconi).

Sunlight lines up in the G3 Quezette S.

Chris Meagher's filly Pippie (Written Tycoon) looks well prepared for this off a second behind the very promising Multaja (Medaglio O'ro {USA}), while expensive yearling purchases Qafila (Not a Single Doubt) and Casadiva (Fastnet Rock) make their first appearances of the spring.

In the Vain S, Tony Nicconi (Nicconi) is expected to be hard to beat off his 4l win in a late season 2-year-old race at this track in June. But there are two other unbeaten horses in the race, Rock Hard (All Too Hard) and The August (I am Invincible), as well as high-priced colt Long Leaf (Fastnet Rock) who raced in G1 company in his last four runs of his 2YO season.

Wide open WFA opener

The headline race at Caulfield is the G2 PB Lawrence S. with many of the best staying and weight-for-age hopes for the spring resuming, including current Caulfield Cup favourite Kings Will Dream (Ire) Casamento {Ire}). Kings Will Dream is one of six runners for trainer Darren Weir, including veteran Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars).

"Mighty Boss had Grunt covered in trackwork .... which is probably going to be the case on race day," trainer Mick Price.

But it is G1 Australian Guineas winner Grunt (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}) who has drawn much of the interest this week, with a Cox Plate on his agenda later in the campaign. Trainer Mick Price has insisted that stablemate and G1 Caulfield Guineas winner Mighty Boss (Not a Single Doubt) is a better winning chance while he also has Holy Snow (Fastnet Rock) in the race.

Last year's winner, Hartnell (Authorized {IRE}), now an 8YO, is also another very interesting runner.

G2 at Te Repa

There is also Group 2 racing in New Zealand at Te Rapa, with a strong field for the Foxbridge Plate. In-form pair Julius (Swiss Ace) and New York Minute (Iffraaj {GB}) are expected to be hard to beat, but smart mare Melody Belle (Commands) resumes as does former Singapore star War Affair (O'Reilly {NZ}).