Talented filly English upstaged Winx and a host of other Group 1 winners to record an impressive victory in a barrier trial over 838 metres at Royal Randwick this morning.
Winx was the first horse out of the barriers, but it was Charlie Boy who took up the running in the early stages of the barrier trial from First Seal, while English was settled just behind the leading duo on the rail.
First Seal was the first horse to head Charlie Boy and it looked as though Winx would finish over the top of her rivals, but English showed an amazing turn-of-foot when asked for a very minor effort from Tommy Berry and she quickly put a couple of lengths on her rivals to record an ultra-impressive win from First Seal and a fast-finishing Stay With Me.
English stamped herself as a filly to watch when she recorded an impressive win in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 in just her second race start and she gave stablemate Vancouver a scare in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 before she failed to fire in the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 6.
The daughter of Encosta De Lago was given two barrier trials in the lead-up to a return to racing during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but trainer Gai Waterhouse elected to send the three-year-old back to the spelling paddock to give her the chance to continue to grow.
First Seal was making her first public appearance since a nasty foot abscess kept her out of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and she found the line nicely without being asked for an extra effort to finish second.
The Group 1 winning mare will likely return to the races in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 3 and she is likely to press on to the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 15, the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at the same venue a week later and the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 2.
Stay With Me was settled towards the tail of the field in the early stages of the barrier trial, but she made up good ground late to finish third.
The Street Cry filly will race exclusively in Sydney during her autumn campaign and is set to return to the races in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 13 before she contests the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on February 27 and the Coolmore Classic.
Winx was kept under a heavy hold throughout by jockey Hugh Bowman and finished in the middle of the pace, while Hartnell made up good ground late in an eye-catching trial.