The Randwick track has dried out, the weather has cooled down and Winx is ready to step out for the first time in the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) today.
Following a week of torrential rain and scorching hot weather, the Randwick track has been rated a Good 4 for today’s meeting with the Bureau Of Meteorology forecasting a maximum of 27 degrees for Sydney.
Racegoers will be able to see Winx for free after the Australian Turf Club has decided to open the gates up for today’s meeting that was postponed from last Saturday because of the severe heatwave conditions.
The Apollo Stakes has been pushed back to race eight on the ten event program and is scheduled to start at 5.40pm Sydney time while Winx remains the shot priced favourite at $1.16 with Ladbrokes.com.au at her first run back since winning her second Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Winx will be chasing her fourteenth win in succession after being undefeated since winning the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast during the 2015 Queensland Winter Carnival and along the way the champion mare has collected nine Group 1 trophies which include the 2015 and 2016 Cox Plates.
Trainer Chris Waller said that Winx has had a faultless preparation in the lead up to the Apollo Stakes which is the first of four Autumn Carnival runs that will climax with the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8, day two of ‘The Championships’.
In between the Apollo Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Winx is scheduled to run in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 25 and the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 18.
“She is going very well. Can’t fault her at all. Her prep has gone perfectly well. Hugh Bowman was happy with her,” Waller said.
“She has drawn gate three. She should just give herself a nice run.”
“It is always a little bit of a concern wondering how they have come back. Everything we look at has pleased me, I would not have changed anything in her prep so far and she is in for another good preparation here.”
Regular rider Hugh Bowman is back in the saddle again on the new darling of the Australian Turf who will jump from gate two after drawing three in the original draw before Savvy Nature and Global Glamour were scratched.
Winx is currently available at 2017 Apollo Stakes odds of $1.16 with Ladbrokes and she is a dominant favourite from Hartnell at $9 and Dibayani at $21.