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Winx Championships Plans A Headache For TAB

By Ray Hickson

You wouldn’t think pricing Australia’s superstar Winx in any race would be a tough job but TAB’s price assessors had a quandary when it came to The Championships.

There’s no bigger name in Australian racing than Winx and her presence is being fought for around the globe so trainer Chris Waller and her owners have some big decisions to make that will affect pre-post betting for the majors coming up.

They’ll come after the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes on March 24.

But in opening markets on The Championships this week, TAB’s Wagering Media Officer Andrew Georgiou said it has to be assumed at this point Winx will be at Royal Randwick to defend her crown in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 14.

Winx hasn’t started longer than $1.26 in her last nine wins of the 22 win streak and the question marks over her target has seen TAB be a touch generous.

Champion Winx is a hot favourite for the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Day 2 of The Championships. (Pic: Steve Hart).

“We are keeping Winx safe at the $1.40 for the Queen Elizabeth at this point,’’ Georgiou said.

“Depending on which way you look at it, the price could be value considering she is the best weight-for-age horse we’ve seen for a long, long time.

“Of course, there are some doubts as to her schedule so our traders are playing it safe for the time being and assuming she will be lining up in the race.’’

A year ago, TAB opened the star mare at $1.60 when nominations were released before she won the Queen Elizabeth at $1.12.

Winx will command attention at Royal Randwick this Saturday with a special 1200m trial between races three and four as she prepares for her return in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes two weeks later.

She stifles betting on the Queen Elizabeth with Humidor, who pressed Winx in the Cox Plate, second elect at $11. She’s also the $3 favourite for the Group 1 Coolmore Legacy (1600m) on the same day but you’d think if she’s racing at Randwick on April 14 it’ll be in the number one race of The Championships.

Elsewhere, the nation’s best sprinter Redzel is favourite for the Group 1 $2.5m Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) ahead of three time hero Chautuaqua.

Gun three-year-old Kementari assumed favouritism for the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) with his first-up win last Saturday and Victoria Derby winner Ace High is an $8 favourite to complete the rare Derby double in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m).

“As you would expect we have most of the big guns at the top of the betting for the big races during The Championships,” Georgiou said.

“We had Kementari as much as $26 to win the Doncaster prior to his brilliant win in the Eskimo Prince last Saturday. Since then he has been $11 into $8 favourite.

“Redzel heads the betting for the TJ Smith Stakes but it’s no surprise to see three-time champion Chautauqua on the next line at $8. Redzel handled Chautauqua a few times last preparation but if the latter gets a wet track then he is definitely back in the mix.”

Markets for The Championships races are available at tab.com.au.

Check out the nominations for the Championships Day 1 here and Day 2 here.

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