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Big nominations for The Championships

Over 1500 horses have nominated for the Group 1 and Group 2 races of The Championships, to be run at Randwick on April 6 and 13.

Entries include Winx (Street Cry {Ire}), who is likely to shoot for a third G1 Queen Elizabeth S. in what could be her final race, as well as significant interest from overseas.

Winx after a recent trial

There are 26 Northern Hemisphere trained horses nominated for the four features, the G1 Doncaster Mile, the G1 TJ Smith Stakes, the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the G1 Sydney Cup.

Twenty-one of those entries are from Japan including G1 Mile Cup winner Keiai Nautique (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Group 2 winners Tower Of London {Jpn}) (Raven's Pass {USA}), Win Bright (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) and Win Tenderness (Jpn) (Company {Jpn}).

Charlie Appleby, who won last year's Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter (Teofilo {IRE}) has entered two runners for the Sydney Cup, Dubhe (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Ispolini (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}).

Happy to finish second

Pat Webster is happy to play second fiddle again with his champ Happy Clapper (Teofilo {Ire}) in Saturday's G2 Apollo S. at Randwick.

Happy Clapper meets Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) for the ninth time on Saturday and Webster is not expecting the result to be any different to the past eight times but is still proud of what the 8-year-old has achieved.

“He’s the only horse in history to win the Villiers, Epsom and Doncaster and I was happy to win any of them," he told Racing NSW.

“He loves Randwick which is good for me because I love Randwick."

“The Doncaster was special. To have a horse that loves a mile and loves Randwick it doesn’t get any better than that.’’

Winx is $1.08 favourite to stretch her winning streak to 30 on Saturday, where she will meet seven rivals, five of them from her own stable.

Begg to differ on sprints

Grahame Begg is hoping to use Written By's (Written Tycoon) fitness advantage to sneak another Group 1 with the 3-year-old after switching to the G1 Black Caviar Lightning S.

Written By was destined for the G1 Oakleigh Plate next week, but Begg thought the race down the Flemington straight was too good to pass up.

Written By

"We'd always left the door open and that's why we ran in the Adams (Stakes at Caulfield) first-up," Begg told Racing.com. "It gave us the opportunity to go this path with two weeks into it."

"I just thought with the smaller field that he would get in an Oakleigh Plate that would suit him and he's run well up the straight (fourth in last spring's G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes)."

"But the crucial factor is that the majority of the field in the Lightning are first-up and we've had a run under our belts so that's an advantage we'd like to make the most of. He's fit and he's well and he's ready to go."

Stakes goals for unbeaten Terbium

Terbium (Terango) took his record to three wins from as many starts with a win at Sandown on Wednesday and is now destined for stakes company.

The 3-year-old backed up his wins from Strathalbyn and Pakenham to provide trainer Phillip Stokes and jockey Kayla Crowther with a double.

Stokes said post-race that the G3 Zeditave S. at Caulfield on February 23 was the likely next stop for Terbium, who was bred and is raced by Birdsville Race Club president David Brook.

He is the only winner for his sire Terango, who had only had a handful of runners to the track.

Sydney beckoning Ever Loyal

Ever Loyal (Sebring) could be set for an Australian campaign should he carry on his recent performances in Saturday's Dunstan Feeds 1200 at Ellerslie.

Ever Loyal, placed in a G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas earlier in his career, was second behind Ardrossan (Redoute's Choice) in the G3 Concorde Handicap (1200m) last month and a good performance on Saturday will see Pike likely send him to Australia.

“He was very impressive fresh-up in the Concorde,” Pike said. “He was off the scene for 12 months and I couldn’t be happier with his run."

“We are just using Saturday’s race really just to make sure he is at the top of his game. If he runs well again on Saturday, there’s a chance he could head to Sydney."

“There’s a nice race there called the Liverpool City Cup, a Group Three 1300m race at the end of the month.”

Tolemac Derby plan on track

A long-term plan to reach the G1 New Zealand Derby is set to take its next step in Saturday's G2 Schweppes Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie.

Tolemac (Camelot {GB}) was sent to New Zealand by former trainer Francis Finnegan with a shot at the Derby a long-term goal and trainer Paul Jenkins, who has been travelling back and forth from the Sunshine Coast to monitor his progress, has been pleased with his two runs so far.


“He obviously needed the run the first time out and knocked-up and then to get to the line like he did the other day, he was probably a bit unlucky not to have pinched the race. He caught a little bit of a bump in the last bit," he said.

“He’s pulled up well and trialled really well the other day at Te Aroha.”

“He hadn’t raced for a while, so he needed a ride in a truck and a decent gallop to bring him on again,” Jenkins said. “He’s a tough little bloke and he takes a bit of work."