An outstanding field contests the first Group 1 of the Sydney spring at Royal Randwick this Saturday as Australian Turf Club honours the incomparable champion racehorse Winx.
The $500,000 Group 1 Winx Stakes – the third running named in honour of the mighty mare – attracted a capacity field including at acceptances 10 horses which have already tasted Group 1 success.
The Winx Stakes was renamed in 2018 and fittingly was won on that day by the mare herself, at the time Winx’s 26th consecutive victory, and her third in the race after saluting in 2016 and 2017.
It has now led to the race gaining Group 1 status and the Australian Turf Club establishing Winx Stakes Day ahead of the official start of the Sydney Spring Carnival next month.
Winx will also be celebrated on Saturday at a sold-out function in the Royal Randwick Ballroom as Australian Turf Club continues to welcome more customers back to racedays under strict COVID-19 safety protocols and NSW Government Public Health Orders.
In a very wide-open betting field, two of Australian racing’s best gallopers have opened equal TAB favourites in the Winx Stakes.
Master of Wine for the powerful Hawkes Racing team and jockey Tommy Berry and Verry Elleegant for 10-time Sydney premiership trainer Chris Waller and reigning jockey champion James McDonald are at $6.50 with TAB. Both horses resume from a spell after a second (Verry Elleegant) and fourth (Master Of Wine) in the Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Dreamforce (trainer John Thompson and jockey Brenton Avdulla) ($7) and The Bostonian (trainer Tony Pike and jockey Jay Ford; $7.50) are next in the market. Both gallopers had Group 1 success in the Sydney autumn – Dreamforce in the Agency George Ryder Stakes and The Bostonian in the Canterbury Stakes.
Three outstanding Group 1-winning mares in Melody Belle ($10) for Jamie Richards and Kerrin McEvoy, Con Te Partiro ($11) trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and ridden by Tim Clark and Godolphin and James Cummings’s Flit ($14) with jockey Glyn Schofield add to the stellar field.
Collectively, the Winx Stakes field at acceptances has won 27 Group 1 races and combined more than $30 million in prizemoney. Saturday’s nine race-card with 124 total entries includes three more Group races including the first leg of the Darley Princess Series – the Group 2 $200,000 Darley Silver Shadow Stakes.
See You Soon trained out of Goulburn and ridden by Sam Clipperton is the $3.40 TAB favourite ahead of Dame Giselle ($3.90) for Peter and Paul Snowden and in-form jockey Tommy Berry. Redoute's Image from the Kris Less stable and to be ridden by Jason Collett is at $4.80 on TAB.
The Darley Princess Series at Royal Randwick consists of four legs:
• Group 2 $200,000 Darley Silver Shadow Stakes over 1200m on Saturday 22 August;
• Group 2 $200,000 Darley Furious Stakes over 1200m on Saturday 5 September;
• Group 2 $200,000 Darley Tea Rose Stakes over 1400m on Saturday 19 September;
• Group 1 $500,000 Darley Flight Stakes over 1600m on Saturday 3 October.
The winning breeder from the individual races will receive a 2020 or 2021 nomination to Darley stallions Harry Angel (Silver Shadow Stakes), Frosted (Furious Stakes), plus champion first-season sires Microphone (Tea Rose Stakes) and Too Darn Hot (Flight Stakes). Saturday’s card also includes the Group 3 $160,000 Mostyn Copper Show County Quality over and the Group 3 $160,000 Bowermans Commercial Furniture Toy Show Quality.
Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager Racing and Wagering James Ross said: “Saturday’s card features the largest Winx Stakes field since its elevation to Group 1 status, and the overall quality is very pleasing with 10 Group 1 winners with 27 Group 1 wins between them.
“We look forward to Saturday’s Group 1 along with a number of black type support races featuring horses beginning Spring campaigns in important pathway races such as the Darley Princess Series.”
The Royal Randwick track was rated a Soft 7 on Thursday morning. For all ticketing, racing and general information go to TheRaces.com.au