Daily News Wrap

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Winx set for farewell despite scare

All is in readiness for Winx's (Street Cry {Ire}) farewell at Randwick on Saturday, despite the mare sending a scare through the Chris Waller camp when she kicked out at a fence.

Waller was presenting Winx for one last time to the media ahead of what is expected to be her final start in Saturday's G1 Queen Elizabeth S. when she lashed out at a fence with her hind legs.

She was subsequently inspected by Racing NSW vets, but was cleared for what is likely to be her 33rd consecutive win.

“As you can see she’s a horse, they’re unpredictable but she’s very well, very fresh, very bright and ready to go,” Waller said.

“Obviously it’s a big morning with a lot of cameras, people everywhere. They can get a bit fresh from time to time and she’s certainly ready to explode."

“I shouldn’t have taken the ear muffs off this morning. I just wanted to take them off so you could all see her without the ear phones on but as soon as I did she could hear the clicking and the clacking (of the cameras) so I probably shouldn’t have done that."

“It was, it was (a heart flutter). She had the rug on and it was grabbing her on the bum and I don’t think she liked that too much."

“The farrier’s already called and said she’s 100 percent but as you could see she’s ready to go, which is good for people to see, to show how much energy and how much life she’s got to offer."

“I can’t explain how well she is. As Hughie said during the week, she’s never been better.”

Aquis pulls out of Queensland racing over integrity concerns

Aquis Group has decided to withdraw its racing interests from Queensland until further notice, protesting at what it says are unresolved integrity issues in the state.

Currently one of the biggest owners in the state, Aquis Farm has scratched all runners in which it is the managing owner of from upcoming races and will not enter horses for future races until action is taken.

"Following a meeting of the Board Of Directors of the Aquis Farm Group in Sydney today at the conclusion of the Easter Sale, the decision has been taken that where Aquis Farm is the Managing Owner of a horse it owns wholly or partially, it will not race that horse in Queensland until a number of integrity issues concerning Queensland racing are fully resolved to ensure a level playing field for all participants," a statement from Aquis Farm CEO Shane McGrath said.

"As a consequence, Aquis Farm will be directing the scratching of all of its runners nominated for Queensland races effective immediately."

Aquis Farm has pledged to donate to charity any winnings it gets from Queensland racing from horses where it doesn't hold majority ownership, and thereby can’t scratch.

Chieftain ready for Cup shot

Trainer Archie Alexander is not concerned about the seven-day back-up for G2 Chairman's Quality winner Gallic Chieftain (Fr) (Tamayuz {GB}) into Saturday's G1 Sydney Cup.

The 6-year-old came through his win in the Chairman's well and is ready to put his best forward in career-best form.

“We hope he’s a different horse this time in and he’s tackling two miles as a fresh horse now,” Alexander told Racenet.

“I think even Weiry would admit, he has tackled bigger things and the two-mile races have been at the end of his preps."

“This time, he’s nice and fresh and well.”

Consensus to fly flag for McKees

Stephen McKee heads to Randwick on Saturday only two days after his father's funeral looking for Consensus (NZ) (Postponed {USA}) to cap an emotional week with a win in the G1 Coolmore Legacy.

Trevor McKee passed away last week and was farewelled on Thursday at Ellerslie Racecourse.


McKee is hoping the 7-year-old mare, a last-start winner of the G2 Sunline S. at Moonee Valley, can overcome a wide barrier and eclipse some of the best mares in Australia,

"Unfortunately she's got the outside draw (19), which is going to make it hard for her, but you can't worry about that now," McKee said. "She's going to get a better track than last weekend and that'll help."

"This (the Coolmore Legacy Stakes) is the race we decided on after Moonee Valley and she has travelled up well from Melbourne and settled in well. She's in the same barn she was when she was there last year."

Godolphin raider eyes Cup path

Melbourne Cup winning trainer Charlie Appleby is targeting a path to this year's race with Ghostwatch (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) through the revamped Andrew Ramsden S.

Ghostwatch has won four of his ten starts in Europe, including a last-start win in the Listed Noel Murless S. at Ascot and is headed to Australia to target the Andrew Ramsden on May 25.


"We are looking forward to sending Ghostwatch to Melbourne to run in The Andrew Ramsden, which is now a win and you're in for the Lexus Melbourne Cup," Appleby told Racing.com.

"We feel this horse has the right profile - a four-year-old gelded son of Dubawi who won the valuable Melrose Stakes at York in August, and then finished his season with a win in the Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot in October."

"Hopefully this horse will then be joining our team for the Spring Racing Carnival which, as always, we are looking forward to."

Brutal stud decision nears

The future home of G1 Doncaster Mile winner Brutal (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}) will be decided in the next couple of days.

Managing owner Rupert Legh told RSN that discussions have been taking place all week on a likely stud destination and that the ownership group was close to a decision.

Brutal winning the G1 Doncaster Mile

"It all started on Saturday night, celebrating at Star Casino, where I had meetings with Vinery, then Newgate came along and we had chats to them," he said.

"Then we've been speaking to one of the high-profile Victorian studs down here, it would've been great to see the horse come to Victoria."

"And there's another couple of studs who inspected Brutal on Monday and Tuesday morning."

"So we hope to make a decision in the next day or two as to which stud he'll finish up at."

"But they're very keen to see him continue racing, which is great - and that was part of the deal that we would keep going on."

"But I'd say in the next 24 hours we should be able to say which stud he'll be going to."

Three NZ tracks win reprieve

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has reduced the number of racing venues to close from the 2019/20 season to seven from ten, with the Blenheim, Wairoa and Reefton tracks receiving a reprieve.

“The NZTR Board carefully considered feedback from nine regional meetings and the 75 written submissions received and decided that these three venues should remain, at least for the 2019/20 season,” NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry said.

“The Board focused solely on the 2019/20 season at this stage and those venues which were listed to close from the 2024/25 season onwards will be considered later in the year.”

Wairoa's relative remoteness to surrounding tracks was one of the key reasons for its reprieve, but the club will need to undertake work on the track.

The continuing need for a transport hub for horses travelling between islands played a significant part in the NZTR Board’s decision to retain Blenheim, while the NZTR Board saw merit in retaining three tracks on the West Coast. Which saved Reefton.

“The Board saw the benefit of Reefton for the time being as it provides additional accommodation for horses on the Coast circuit,” Saundry said.

“While it is the smallest track in the country and does need work to improve it as a racing venue, it does provide us with potentially better track conditions and an alternative venue if there is significant rain on the Coast during the traditional circuit.”

The clubs which will relocate from the 2019/20 season are Dargaville RC; Thames JC; Stratford RC; Westland RC; Waimate JC, Winton JC and Wyndham RC. Four of those – Dargaville, Thames, Waimate and Wyndham – have all recently raced at other venues.