Trainer Chris Waller’s multiple Group 1 winners Winx and Boban headline the nominations for the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx and Boban are two of five Waller trained horses that make up the sixteen nominations for the Group 2 weight for age feature.
Waller has also entered dual Group 1 winner Press Statement along with 2015 Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshall and runner up Who Shot Thebarman.
Winx will be having her first start since winning the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival and has had two barrier trials and a solid exhibition gallop at Randwick last Saturday in preparation for her Autumn Carnival pipe opener.
While Winx’s main Autumn Carnival goal is the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 9, Day two of ‘The Championships’, Waller still expects the Street Cry mare to be very competitive first up as she chases her sixth win on the trot.
“She is an extreme athlete and unlike some other horses she can race 95 per cent fit and still win,” Waller said.
“Racing her in the Apollo opens up the option of getting her to the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes two weeks later.”
Boban is also stepping out for the first time since running ninth to stablemate Delectation in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival in the Spring.
Boban took his Group 1 tally to five during the Spring with a first up win in the Group 1 $400,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and he races well fresh.
Three year old Press Statement is also resuming after being sent for a spell after winning the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Waller has given Press Statement two barrier trials in preparation for his return while his stayers Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman have only had one barrier trial each.
John O’Shea has nominated two in the promising Hauraki and Group 1 The Metropolitan winner Magic Hurricane.
Gai Waterhouse has entered her staying mare Bohemian Lily while Team Hawkes is represented with Leebaz and Messene, who are both resuming.
2015 Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind from the John Sargent stable is also among the nominations as is the Gerald Ryan trained Solicit.
Solicit will have a distinct fitness advantage over most of the Apollo Stakes entries, having had a run this time in when second to Our Boy Malachi in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on January 30.