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Winx's Flemington show highlights trio of G1 races

6 min read

On the week she claimed a third successive Australian Racehorse of the Year title, Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) takes centre stage once again in what will probably be her Flemington farewell in the G1 TAB Turnbull S.

Winx's association with Australia's most famous racecourse is limited to just one appearance when she won this race last year by 6.5L. She confronts a stronger field here this year, but there is nothing to suggest that her amazing winning streak won’t stretch to 28 given the way she has returned.

G1 Makybe Diva S. winner Grunt (O'Reilly {NZ}) returns to Flemington where he is much better suited but has to back up just seven days off his poor run in the G1 Underwood S. at Caulfield.

He edged out Kings Will Dream (Ire) {Casamento {Ire}) here three weeks' ago, who has been impressive this campaign, headed towards his target the G1 Caulfield Cup.

Jon Snow (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) was third in the Makybe Diva, second-up off a long spell and the 2000m should be more suitable for him, while Ventura Storm (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) was runner-up to Winx in this 12 months ago.

Nine of the best at HQ

All nine races on the Flemington card are run at black-type level, making for a huge day.

The Listed Maribyrnong Trial S. kicks it off and features the first 2-year-olds in Victoria for the season with trainer Tony McEvoy holding a very strong hand.

He has the top three horses in the market, with Sun City (Zoustar), The Astrologist (Zoustar) and Grand Scholar (Wandjina), part of what he says are his best-ever crop of youngsters.

The first runners for Verrazano (USA) and Brazen Beau are also in action through Mockery and Mercury respectively.

The G2 Gilgai S. sees Dothraki (Mossman) looking to make it back-to-back victories at Flemington in what is a very open sprint. Dreamforce (Fastnet Rock) and Perast (Snitzel) both resume in their first starts down the famous straight six, while Darren Weir boasts a trio of runners.

First Among Equals (Exceed and Excel), beaten narrowly by Dothraki in the Bobbie Lewis, looks the best of them while Quilista (Scandal Keeper {USA}) boasts a win over the 1200m at Flemington earlier in her career.

The G2 TAB Edward Manifold S. has been traditionally used as a lead-up for the G1 Thousand Guineas and the G1 VRC Oaks. Six fillies have done the Manifold/Oaks double in the past 40 years.

The former New Zealand filly Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) is looking to add her name to that list this Spring and has her first start for Weir here.

She looks to have huge upside and Weir's record with stable acquisitions is outstanding.

The trainer completely dominates the race when it comes to the market. He also has Amphitrite (Sebring) in the race coming off her good mid-week win at Flemington last time as well as Krone (Eurozone) who has not had a great deal of luck in her past couple of runs.

The G2 Blazer S. for the mares features two Group 1 winners at the top of the weights, Aloisia (NZ) (Azamour {Ire}) and Global Glamour (Star Witness).

The Godolphin mare Savatiano (Street Cry {Ire}) is expected to relish her first trip to Flemington and occupies the top of the market, with Chris Waller's Invincibella (I Am Invincible) considered the main threat along with Bella Martini (Stratum) and Tulip (Pierro).

Ticket to ride in Bart's race

The G3 The Bart Cummings has grown in to an increasingly important race with its ballot-free entry into the G1 Melbourne Cup and this year features a field of 14 looking for that 'lucky ticket'.

Godolphin import Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) is currently equal favourite in Melbourne Cup markets and is looking to extend his unbeaten record in Australia to four.

The step to 2500m does not look a worry and the form through his previous runs has stood up well.

Weir's Yogi (Raise The Flag {GB}) and Liam Howley's pair of Our Venice Beach (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Midterm (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) are considered the major competition.

The Listed Antler Luggage S. for 3-year-olds over 1400m, the Listed Furphy Paris Lane S. for the 4YOs and above and the Listed UCI S. for the aspiring 3YO stayers round off a terrific day of racing.

Spring test for emerging stars

Randwick plays host to the G1 Moet and Chandon Spring Champion S. a race which showcases the staying 3-year-olds, including Thinkin' Big (High Chaparral {Ire}), who was so impressive in winning the G3 Gloaming S. last time out.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott- trained colt looks to have considerable upside and Waterhouse still harbours hopes that he can become the first 3-year-old to contest the Melbourne Cup in a generation.

The Godolphin colt Aramayo (Poet's Voice {GB}) comes through a win in the G3 Spring S. last time and looks a very strong staying prospect as does Dealmaker (Dundeel {NZ}) who hasn’t been seen since storming home for second in the G2 Stan Fox S.

Tarka (All Too Hard) won the Stan Fox and was second to Thinkin' Big in the Gloaming so provides a good comparison in from. He is expected to enjoy stepping up further in distance.

The unbeaten filly Frankely Awesome (Frankel {GB}) is looking to become the first of her sire's progeny to win a Group 1 in Australia, but this looks a big challenge at just her third start.

The G2 Roman Consul S. has become a crucial race linking the Golden Rose to the G1 Coolmore Stud S. in recent years and Sandbar (Snitzel) is looking to do exactly that having finished fourth in the Golden Rose two weeks' ago. He was the only on pacer to hold on that day and he should be suited down a grade here.

Jonker (Spirit of Boom) who hasn’t been seen since running third in the G2 Run To the Rose, looks the key rival.

There is also the G3 Harrolds Angst S for the mares with Shumookh (Dream Ahead {USA}) looking to add to her last start success in the G2 Golden Pendant. She beat her main challenger here Dixie Blossoms (Street Sense {USA}) easily that day but the weight terms are much more in Ron Quinton's mare's favour.

Princess Posh (Canford Cliffs {Ire}) was third in the Golden Pendant, having won the G3 Tibbie S. at Newcastle at her previous start.

Hastings' third G1

Hastings plays host to the G1 Livamol Classic, with Savvy Coup (NZ) (Savabeel), the G1 New Zealand Oaks winner, set to go one better than when she was second in the G1 Windsor Park Plate at her previous start.

With no Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands), the winner of the first two of the Hastings features this Spring, Scott Base (NZ) (Dalghar {Fr}) is expected to have taken substantial improvement from his two runs this campaign and is considered her main threat.

Hastings also hosts the G2 Sacred Falls Hawke's Bay Guineas and the G3 Red Badge Spring Sprint.

The other two Listed races on Saturday are in Western Australia with the Birthday S. at Belmont and the Kalgoorlie Cup at Kalgoorlie.