Daily News Wrap

5 min read

No news is good news for Winx and Waller

Chris Waller sees no reason to suggest that superstar mare Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) won’t continue her winning streak this campaign.

Two days out from her first-up run in the G2 Apollo S. at Randwick and Waller said the 7-year-old mare has the same feel about her as she always has.

“The closer we get to raceday the better I feel because there’s no change,” Waller said.

“She’s still working extremely well, and her body language is telling us she’s enjoying what she’s doing and that’s all we have to worry about."

“Only a couple of days out from the first-up run I’m pretty comfortable knowing that the preparation’s gone really well.”

Waller did say there was always some anxiety ahead of a new preparation, but there was nothing in Winx's behaviour to say she has taken a backward step.

"There is that element of the unknown because she hasn’t raced since the Cox Plate,” he said.

“There is that slight element of wondering how she’s going to go when she does get under race conditions but all the signs that she’s showing us is she’s ready to go and I’m sure we’ll be excited with how she goes on the weekend.”

Fresh specialist set for Lightning

The outstanding first-up record of Divine Quality (Sepoy) is the deciding factor in trainer Robbie Griffiths giving the mare her chance in the G1 Lightning S. at Flemington on Saturday.

Griffiths has followed a similar programme to the one he used in the spring when she was an emphatic fresh winner of the G3 Furphy Sprint on the course.

Divine Quality

Leading in to the Furphy victory over 1100 metres, Griffiths gave the mare a jump-out and a trial at Cranbourne, a formula he has again followed leading into Saturday's 1000 metre sprint.

"With her great straight-track record we've elected to have a shot at the Lightning fresh," Griffiths said.

"Once we won on Derby day it was going to be compressed to try and run in races like the Standish and the Kensington, so we elected to bypass those races and concentrate on the Lightning."

"I know weight-for-age conditions suit horses rated higher than her, but she's a progressive horse and she's ticked every box going into the race."

Stablemates hard to split

Kris Lees doesn’t believe there’s much between his smart fillies Miss Fabulass (Frankel {GB}) and El Dorado Dreaming (Ilovethiscity) when they clash at Randwick on Saturday.

The 3-year-olds will oppose each other in the G2 TAB Light Fingers S.

"There's not a great deal between them, not as much as the market has got them," Lees said.

"The barrier draw is probably more favourable to El Dorado Dreaming, but they're two very good fillies in for good preparations."

The richly-bred Miss Fabulass, she is a daughter of former Lees star Samantha Miss (Redoute’s Choice), progressed from a maiden win at Canterbury to win at Group 2 level in just her second racing preparation.

El Dorado Dreaming returns to Sydney after campaigning exclusively in Melbourne during the spring when she notched a trio of Group 2 placings over sprint and middle distances.

“She's pretty bombproof. I'm really happy with how she's going," he said.

Rogerson pondering Winx challenge

Graeme Rogerson thinks so much of More Wonder (Mossman) that he is thinking of setting him the ultimate challenge - a clash with Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) in the autumn.

The 3-year-old was an effortless winner at the Cambridge trials on Tuesday, winning his 1200m heat by four lengths.

“I just wanted to give him a day out. I am really happy with the horse. I didn’t run him at Te Rapa, because he had two runs down at Wellington,” Rogerson said.

Those two runs included the G1 Levin Classic and G1 Thorndon Mile, where he finished fourth and fifth respectively.

His next two assignments will be in the G1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic at Otaki next Saturday followed by a tilt at the G1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 2.

“I nominated him for Sydney on Tuesday morning. He’s in the Derby and I might run him against Winx in the Queen Elizabeth.

“I think he is a really good horse, so we’ll see how good of a judge I am. He’s a Group 1 horse, he probably should have won a Group 1 by now.”

Smart filly stepping out for Waller

Multiple stakes winner Melt (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) will debut for Chris Waller on Saturday, when she contests the G2 Light Fingers S. at Randwick.

The 3-year-old won four of her eight starts for trainer Nigel Tiley and finished second to Avantage in the G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce S.


“Melt has been with us for the last few months and has settled in very well,” Waller said.

“She trialled nicely and comes to Australia with some very good New Zealand form over these shorter distances.

“I am sure she is going to acquit herself well and from the good draw, with Glyn Schofield in the saddle, she should be able to settle up near the pace.”

Marshal heads the market

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Mongolian Marshal (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}) has opened a clear favourite for Saturday's G2 Coca-Cola Avondale Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie.

The 4-year-old is the winner of five of his 15 starts, although Baker still has a question mark on the horse’s staying power.

"The horse is well but the distance is a query, even though he has won a Waikato Cup at 2400m," Baker said.

The showy gelding has had a good run of form of late, backing up his Waikato Cup win in December with a placing in the G3 City of Auckland Cup on New Year’s Day and a second in the Karaka Cup at Ellerslie last month."