Wonderful Winx the headline act

9 min read

Randwick G1 The Star Apollo S $250,000 1400 metres

The undoubted highlight of Saturday’s racing is the return of the champion mare Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) and all the signs once again point to her delivering for her world-wide legion of fans.

The pin-up girl has thrilled trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman in her lead-up work and is expected to extend her winning streak to 30 and claim a third Apollo S. after winning the 1400 metre contest race in 2016 and 2017.

“She's looking great in my eye,” Bowman said. “She looks excellent in the coat and has got a real glow in her eye, as does Chris, which is exciting.

“She looks excellent in the coat and has got a real glow in her eye, as does Chris, which is exciting. " - Hugh Bowman

“I always look at it as a stepping stone towards the rest of her preparation. I guess there is that little element of unknown because she hasn't raced since the Cox Plate, but all signs that she's shown us are that she's ready to go.”

The most likely quinella contender seems to be Happy Clapper (Teofilo {Ire}), a star in his own right with three Group 1 titles and more than $6.3 million in the bank.

The Pat Webster-trained 8-year-old produced a sparkling trial win on the course earlier this month and has four first-up victories to his credit.

Dubai option for filly

Randwick G2 TAB Light Fingers S. $200,000 1200 metres

The Tony McEvoy-trained Group 1 winner Oohood (I Am Invincible) resumes here ahead of a possible overseas campaign.

“She will go to the Group 1 Surround Stakes after this, then into the Group 1 Coolmore Classic," he said.

“Then (owner) Sheikh Khalifa is a bit keen to take her to Dubai to run in the Dubai Turf. So we'll just see what her form is like before making that decision.”

In what is a sterling renewal of the Light Fingers, Kris Lees has a strong hand with his fillies El Dorado Dreaming (Ilovethiscity) and Miss Fabulass (Frankel {GB}), who are both resuming and he is loath to split the pair.

Sylvia’s Mother (Snitzel) comes into the biggest challenge of her career in red hot form with four wins on the bounce for Team Hawkes while Nakeeta Jane (So You Think {NZ}) is lightly-tried but her G1 Flight S. placing showed just what a raw talent she is.

Greysful Glamour (Stratum) was a Group 1 performer in the spring, but may need further but the Waller newcomer Melt (NZ) (Iffraaj) will welcome this trip and should get a cosy trip from an inside gate.

Brutal back in business

Randwick G3 Southern Cross S $160,000 1200 metres

The unbeaten Brutal (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) will be the centre of attention when he kicks off his summer campaign.

The 3-year-old put together a perfect record in the spring with three wins, including a pair of Listed successes, but this will be a tough test for him even though he will be receiving a substantial weight advantage from his major rivals.

Dreamforce (Fastnet Rock), who has to concede Brutal six kilos, has trialled well following a break. He won the G3 Chatham S. at his last appearance and is a potent sprinter with three fresh victories on his CV.

Excited by her return

Randwick G3 Robrick Lodge Triscay S $160,000 1200 metres

I Am Excited (Snitzel) is a talented mare who performs well first-up and an encouraging lead-up trial augurs well for her return.

She won the G2 Gilgai S. and was in the money in three other Group 3 outings and there’s every reason to be excited about her return.

It is an open contest and the Waller-trained Sweet Scandal (Sepoy) faces her toughest test, but is in outstanding form with a pair of lower grade successes. She has the benefit of an ideal barrier in her first attempt at black type.

Youngsters on Lightning raids

Flemington G1 Black Caviar Lightning S $750,000 1000 metres

The younger sprinting brigade, most notably Jedastar (I Am Invincible), has ramped up pre-race interest in this short course feature.

The 2-year-old Jedastar has been set a task here by trainer Lloyd Kennewell, but far from an impossible one with three previous juvenile winners of the Lightning. The last was Desirable (Without Fear {Fr}), trained by the late Colin Hayes, in 1976.

Jedastar was a debut winner before finishing third in the G3 Blue Diamond Preview and there will be great interest to see if jockey Chris Caserta’s spartan diet to get down to the filly’s 44kg can be rewarded.

The 3-year-olds have strong representation headed by the last-start G1 Coolmore Stud S. winner Sunlight (Zoustar), who is all class and should be highly competitive. Written By (Written Tycoon), Graff (Star Witness) and Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar) are all age group Group 1 performers and right in this.

Of the older division, G1 The Galaxy winner In Her Time (Time Thief) is a quality mare while Osborne Bulls (Street Cry {Ire}) is a talent, as his third placing in The Everest emphasised. He has trialled well ahead of his return.

Smart filly an improver

Flemington G3 The TAB Vanity $160,000 1400 metres

Two-time Group 1 placegetter Fundamentalist (Not A Single Doubt) will have benefitted from her first-up outing, finishing fourth in the G3 Manfred S. over 1200 metres at Caulfield.

The extra distance here and a return to a bigger track will be in her favour while the up and coming My Pendant (NZ) (Pins) is a course and distance winner, albeit in much lesser company. However, trainer Danny O’Brien is confident she can measure up to Group company.

Chris Waller has a strong hand with his stable newcomers, the G1 Thousand Guineas winner Amphitrite (Sebring) and the G3 Ethereal S. winner Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}). Both are back from breaks and boast first-up form.

Brut back on track

Flemington G3 CS Hayes S $160,000 1400 metres

Extra Brut (Domesday) is a top-class colt and resumes here from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace barn after a lucrative spring campaign.

He won the G1 VRC Derby and backed that up with an excellent showing against the older horses to run third in the G1 Mackinnon S. He’s had the benefit of a recent trial and the stable has a good strike rate with their first-up contenders.

The racing style of Ringerdingding (Sebring) is well-suited to Flemington where he won the Listed Springtime S. before claiming the G2 Sandown Guineas. John Allen is reunited with the colt and expect a bold showing.

Microphone a sound prospect

Flemington Listed Talindert S $140,000 1100 metres

Godolphin representative Microphone (Exceed And Excel) looms as the horse to beat here following a dashing debut victory and then a game second to the unbeaten I Am Immortal (I Am Invincible) in the G3 Blue Diamond Preview.

One for longer odds might be Lindsay Park’s Swan Island (Spirit Of Boom), who caught the eye with her finish for fourth behind the highly-regarded Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) in the G3 Chairman’s S.

Alburq (Rubick) has done nothing wrong in his brief career and again looms as a major player while Talented (Snitzel) was impressive when winning at Geelong in a weaker field. The Snowden team are dab hands with young horses and she isn’t out of this.

Victorian in grand form

Morphettville Listed Holdfast Insurance Birthday Cup $100,000 2400 metres

Mornington visitor Excessabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) is in first-class form for trainer Matt Laurie and has won twice on the track from his last three appearances with a Flemington fourth to the exciting Schabau (Ger) (Pastorious {Ger}) in between times.

Leon McDonald and Andrew Gluyas have two strong chances with Royal Rumble (New Approach {Ire}) and Wasabi Bob (Rebel Raider) in grand touch while Silent Warrior (Fastnet Rock) was a last-start runner-up and has won at this trip.

Derby favourite fancied

Ellerslie G2 Schweppes Avondale Guineas NZ$100,000 2100 metres

Cutadeel (NZ) (Dundeel {NZ}) can tighten his hold on favouritism for the G1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby if he continues his winning ways for champion trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.

He is unbeaten in his last three appearances, including a victory in the Listed 3YO Salver and a defeat of the older horses in a handicap at Pukekohe Park.

Stablemate The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) was fourth in the G2 Waikato Guineas, although he will need to race a little more generously to be a winning chance. The G2 Auckland Guineas winner Surely Sacred (NZ) (Rock ‘n’ Pop) got home well for fifth in the Karaka Mile and the extra trip will help his cause.

Tough stayer hard to beat

Ellerslie G2 Coca-Cola Cup Avondale Cup NZ$100,000 2400 metres

Five To Midnight (Domesday) is a hardened stayer and will drop a kilo to 59kg on his last-start success in the Karaka Cup.

He is proven on the track having placed in last season’s G1 Auckland Cup and he looks sure to be competitive again.

Chance To Dance (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) is proven in this company and he will be all the better for recent racing while Mongolian Marshal (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}) is genuine, but a strongly run 2400 metres may find him out.

Hat-trick of stakes wins beckons

Southland Listed ILT Ascot Park Hotel Southland Guineas NZ$50,000 1600 metres

Air Max (NZ) (Nadeem) has won his last two starts at Listed level and in his current form he will be hard to hold out, particularly after drawing a handy barrier.

Northern visitor Weaponry (NZ) (Declaration Of War {USA}) was a minor placegetter behind Air Max in his last couple of runs and, while he may not have won, he would have finished closer with more luck on both occasions.

Upscale (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) finishes off her races strongly and the extra distance here will help while Fire Show (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) is honest and looks a solid place prospect.