Royal Randwick hosts the first Group 1 event of the new season this Saturday with the running of the $500,000 Winx Stakes ahead of one of the biggest Spring racing seasons in Sydney history.
In a star-studded Winx Stakes field, the James Cummings-trained Godolphin galloper Avilius with jockey Kerrin McEvoy is the early $3.40 TAB favourite.
But punters have already heavily supported one of Sydney’s most popular gallopers, the nine-year-old warrior Happy Clapper ($4.20 TAB in from $6).
Trained by Pat Webster and ridden by champion jockey Hugh Bowman, Happy Clapper will be looking to win the race named in honour of the mighty mare he chased home for several seasons, including five times into second placing.
The winner of almost $7 million in prizemoney, Happy Clapper has won seven races at Royal Randwick from 22 starts, including being the only horse in Australian racing history to win the three big miles – the Doncaster Handicap, Epsom Handicap and Villiers Stakes.
An emerging younger star in Libertini ($1.75 TAB) trained by Anthony Cummings and ridden by Tommy Berry is the hot favourite in the Group 2 $200,000 Darley Silver Shadow Stakes, the opening leg of the Darley Princess Series. Two Godolphin gallopers – Tenley and Flit – are equal second favourites at $4.80 with TAB.
Saturday’s strong nine-race card also features three Group 3 events – the $160,000 The Luxury Network Up and Coming Stakes, the $160,000 Mostyn Copper Show County Quality and the $160,000 Toy Show Quality.
The reigning Longines Golden Slipper champion Kiamichi – another runner from the powerful Godolphin team – returns in the Toy Show Quality as an equal $5 TAB favourite with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
To mark Winx Stakes Day, Australian Turf Club Members can view a series of photographs and images of Winx at a special exhibition this Saturday.
Photographer Kaz Tuckwell’s images and Rise Up Winx album, including several from the mighty mare’s farewell appearance at Royal Randwick on Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day, will be on display in the Members Heritage Gallery.
The photos, including a limited edition signed by Winx’s jockey Hugh Bowman, will be auctioned in coming weeks with proceeds going to the National Jockeys Trust.
Racegoers on Saturday can celebrate Winx Stakes Day buy buying for one day only a Winx blue cocktail, special merchandise, or have photos taken around a life-size Winx horse statue, giant WINX letters or a photo wall adjacent to the Theatre Of The Horse.
Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager of Racing Services James Heddo said Saturday’s meeting sees the return of some of Sydney’s most promising gallopers.
“The first Group 1 race of the season, the Winx Stakes, has attracted a very strong field as we look toward a huge Sydney Spring Everest Carnival starting in the coming weeks,” Mr Heddo said.
General admission gates open at 11.00am on Saturday, with the first race due to start at 12.05pm and the final race at 5.05pm
Royal Randwick and all Australian Turf Club racecourses provide free parking and free high capacity WiFi.
For all ticketing, racing and general information including tickets for the upcoming Everest Carnival at Rosehill Gardens and Royal Randwick visit theraces.com.au