The odds at Ladbrokes.com.au say no, but trainer Gerald Ryan is hoping that his front running mare Solicit can steal a winning break on Winx in the Group 2 $250,000 Optus Business Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Cox Plate winner Winx is a very dominant $1.50 favourite to score a first up win in the weight for age Apollo Stakes and take her winning sequence to six, but Ryan will instruct Kerrin McEvoy to let Solicit slide from the 800m and maybe gain a winning break.
Solicit, on the second line of betting at $5.50 has the advantage of one race start under belt this campaign and her fitness could be the deciding factor.
Solicit had the unenviable job of chasing home prolific winner Our Boy Malachi when second in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on January 30 and will be all the better for the run, while Winx is having her first start since her devastating win in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
“I’m not taking Winx lightly and she is clearly the one to beat but we have a couple of things in our favour here,” Ryan told The Daily Telegraph.
“Race fitness is the obvious one but the reason we stayed here in Sydney instead of going to Caulfield for the Orr Stakes is because of the likely pace, or lack thereof, in the race.”
“We should find the front and be able to relax for a bit, but I want to see her turn it into a proper test from the 800m.”
“We can’t afford to just sit there until the 400m mark and try and outsprint her.”
With the majority of the Apollo Stakes field better suited over more ground and looking to races later in the Autumn Carnival, Ryan can see Solicit dictating the race from the front with Winx sitting back ready to unleash her trade mark finishing burst.
“Solicit is the kind of horse that needs to wind up and that will suit this race. She can begin to roll from the 800m and that will make them chase, which might give her a chance,” Ryan said.
“It’s probably her only chance but at least we’ve got one.”
Ryan has originally thought he would start Solicit in Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield but decided to stay in Sydney with her main Autumn Carnival goal being the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 12.
“Her main aim is the Coolmore,” Ryan said.
“Originally I was going to give her her next two runs at Caulfield on Saturday in the Orr and a fortnight later in the Futurity before we came back later for the Coolmore, but we are aiming her at a Group 1 race on her home track and I was just a bit uncomfortable about moving her.”
Apollo Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.50 Winx, $5.50 Solicit, $9 Dibayani, $15 Leebaz, $17 Centre Pivot, $26 Magic Hurricane, $31 Hauraki, $41 Bohemian Lily, $71 Gust Of Wind, $81 Who Shot Thebarman, $126 Grand Marshall.