By Ray Hickson
A third Queen Elizabeth Stakes appears a mere formality for the champion Winx according to TAB’s pre-nominations market on the feature race of the 2019 The Championships.
While trainer Chris Waller and Winx’s owners are yet to announce their intentions for the new year it’s widely expected she’ll again headline the Sydney autumn carnival and be out to extend her 29 start winning streak.
Winx is the $1.25 favourite for the $4 million weight-for-age contest ahead of stablemate The Autumn Sun on $8 – what a clash that would be - and a quartet on $15 including boom WA filly Arcadia Queen, Avilius, Humidor and Kiwi cult hero Te Akau Shark.
“With Winx back in work we are anticipating a farewell autumn carnival and have priced her accordingly to win her third straight Queen Elizabeth Stakes,’’ TAB’s Gerard Middleton said.
“She started a similar price this year but was even shorter when she won in 2017.
“Her biggest danger could be stablemate The Autumn Sun if Chris Waller chooses to go that path with the Golden Rose Stakes winner and contest the 2000m WFA event.’’
Winx won the 2018 Queen Elizabeth by 3-3/4 lengths over Gailo Chop while in 2017 she put 5-1/4 lengths on Hartnell.
The rivalry between dual The Everest winner Redzel and his TJ Smith conqueror Trapeze Artist is set to be a highlight of The Championships with the score at one win apiece.
Trapeze Artist drew first blood by winning the TJ in April before Redzel exacted revenge in Australia’s richest race in October.
Redzel stands on the top of betting for the $2.5m TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at $6 ahead of Trapeze Artist on $8 and they hold the same positions in the 2019 The Everest market.
Seven of the first nine in the betting for the autumn’s feature sprint contested The Everest this year with the others being Pierata ($11), who won the Sydney Stakes by a big margin, and Kementari ($15).
“It does look a hugely competitive race,’’ Middleton said.
“Three-year-old colt Graff from the Lees stable, who looks to have untapped potential, could prove popular with punters at $11.
“Four-time Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane is at $11 which highlights the quality likely to contest the Group 1 race on Day 1 of The Championships.’’
Other markets open on The Championships see The Autumn Sun ($4.50) favourite for the $2 million ATC Derby (2400m), though he is marked as doutful, ahead of Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut and Thinkin’ Big at $8.
Spring Champion Stakes winner Maid Of Heaven and promising filly Miss Fabulass share favouritism for the $1 million ATC Oaks (2400m) on $8 ahead of Victorian Oaks winner Aristia ($11).
Middleton said markets are pre-nomination so any runner that is not nominated will be refunded.