Sydney will host its first Group 1 of the year on TAB Chipping Norton Stakes Day this Saturday, 25 February at Royal Randwick.
The feature race of the day, the Group 1 $600,000 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes, was rated as the equal 11th highest Group 1 race in the world in 2016 and the third highest rated Group 1 race in Australia.
This year’s renewal is expected to be of similar class with the Chris Waller-trained Winx leading the field of 10 acceptors.
Punters will get $1.10 TAB Fixed Odds for the World’s Best Turf Horse as she chases her 15th consecutive win, making her the shortest priced favourite in a Sydney Group 1 race for more than 50 years.
Hartnell ($8.00 TAB Fixed Odds) for John O’Shea is the only other runner in single figures in the betting market. The six-year-old, ranked the 8th best horse in the world, has finished behind Winx on all five occasions they have met.
Racegoers will be able to purchase Winx merchandise on course this Saturday and each Saturday throughout the Sydney Carnival at Royal Randwick and Rosehill Gardens with the profits from sales being donated to the NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust.
Winx stubby holders and caps will be available at various bars throughout both the general public areas and Members Reserve.
Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager Racing Services & Membership, James Heddo, encourages sport lovers to be trackside for an exceptional day of racing on Saturday.
“Sydney’s premier Carnival is only a fortnight away which means some of Australia’s best horses will be on show as they toward the Australian Turf Club’s most prestigious races,’’ said Mr Heddo.
“The Club is encouraging everyone to come to the track to see Australia’s great mare Winx in our first Group 1 event of the season. Patrons will also have the opportunity to purchase fantastic Winx memorabilia from Saturday and all the way through the Sydney Carnival regardless of if she is racing on that day or not.”
Four-year-old Chetwood for John O’Shea opens as the $2.50 TAB Fixed Odds favourite in the Group 3 $150,000 Openmarkets & BMYG Liverpool City Cup.
The Exceed and Excel gelding led and faded to the post in his first up start from a ten month spell and will be fitter when he faces the starter this week.
McCreery ($4.50 TAB Fixed Odds) for Waller Racing will be the hardest to beat. Returning from a break, the gelding has good first up form and has completed two barrier trials in preparation for the 1300m test.
The juveniles will also be on show in the Group 2 Schweppes Skyline Stakes (colts & geldings) and the Group 2 Vale Edgar Britt OAM Sweet Embrace Stakes.
Both sprints carry a $200,000 purse, but more importantly, the winner of each race will be exempt from ballot to the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper Stakes.
In the Vale Edgar Britt OAM Sweet Embrace Stakes, punters cannot separate Teaspoon for Michael Freedman and Exceeds for James Cummings, with both opening at $4.60 TAB Fixed Odds. Both fillies will step up in distance to 1200m this run having only competed over 1100m.
Gerald Ryan’s Menari ($2.20 TAB Fixed Odds) is the one to beat in the Schweppes Skyline Stakes. The Snitzel colt was convincing in his first race start and finished second in his other contest after being badly held up for a run to the post.
Free car parking is available at the racecourse and for those with pre-purchased tickets, free buses run from 11am between Eddy Avenue at Central Station and Royal Randwick racecourse.
Adult general admission tickets are available for $15.00 at ticketek.com.au. Gates Open at 11.30am with the first race at 12.45pm.