Winx is set to go to the Caulfield Stakes before a defence of the Cox Plate
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Alex Wiltshire 7:49AM 17 SEP 2016
Report: Australia, Saturday
Randwick: Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes (Group 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+
AUSTRALIAN superstar Winx (Chris Waller/Hugh Bowman) scored her seventh Group 1 victory as the 1-11 favourite disposed of her five rivals at Randwick with minimal fuss.
The five-year-old mare was settled towards the rear of the field, but entering the final turn regular jockey Hugh Bowman exuded confidence by taking her five-wide before going clear with little more than a nudge to win from the gallant Hauraki.
The win secured an 11th straight victory for Winx and trainer Chris Waller confirmed that she will be Melbourne-bound for the Caulfield Stakes, before bidding to defend her Cox Plate crown on October 22.
“There’s nothing like this winning feeling, and the dream continues,” said Waller. “It’s a huge privilege and we’re still learning with her, hopefully we can continue to learn over the coming weeks.
“It wasn’t a gap job, but then it was never meant to be. She just wants to relax and Hugh [Bowman] told me that ‘she’ll tell me where she wants to be’.
“The Caulfield Stakes has always been the original plan, nothing has changed.”
Also on Saturday
Randwick: Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (Group 2), 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
HARTNELL (John O’Shea/James McDonald) produced a devastating performance in the Hill Stakes which rocketed him to Caulfield Cup favouritism.
Godolphin trainer John O’Shea believes that would be his best hope of winning a Spring Group 1.
Jockey James McDonald had time to stroke Hartnell’s mane as he cruised over the line with more than five lengths separating him from the rest of the field in Saturday’s Group 2 at Randwick.
“Wow – he’s just come back in amazing order,” McDonald said. “He’s just a happy horse.
“Happy horse, happy jockey, happy trainer. It’s easy isn’t it? It’s unreal – he’s a different horse.”
The Metropolitan and Cox Plate remain on the table for Hartnell, whose scintillating form has made him 9-2 top pick for the Caulfield Cup.
“I think his best chance to win a major Group One this season would be the Caulfield Cup but Caulfield can get very firm and he doesn’t like that rock-hard ground,” O’Shea said.
“There is a lot of things to take into account. It was very, very good but I don’t know if he had too much to do. Maybe the opposition was a little bit flat.”
O’Shea said he wanted to keep Hartnell in Sydney as long as he could to utilise Godolphin’s Osborne Park training facility.
But there is little doubt the horse is Melbourne-bound as he tries to add a second Group 1 to his win in last year’s BMW.