Champion mare Winx could be a surprise leader when she resumes in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
A lack of pace in the race could see Hugh Bowman left in front on Winx who is chasing her tenth win on the trot as she faces the starter for the first time since winning the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 2.
Winx is normally regarded as a backmarker as she displayed in claiming victory in the Doncaster Mile, but at her four previous starts, all winners, she has raced just off the pace before surging to the front in the straight, with one of those wins being the 2015 Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
On Saturday the Chris Waller trained Winx is lining up against six rivals who also settle back in the field, which raises the question of who is going to lead.
Bowman has floated the idea of leading on Winx and said that if he was left in front, he wouldn’t fight her.
“I have thought about it,” Bowman said at Rosehill Gardens on Thursday.
“I won’t be going out with the intention of leading, but certainly if I’m there, I won’t be doing anything drastic to stop that from happening.”
“In an ideal world I’ll let her settle third or fourth and bring her out and let her finish off, but it’s unlikely that’s going to happen, so my main concern will be having her comfortable.”
Waller will saddle up more than half the field with stayers Who Shot Thebarman, Grand Marshall and 2015 Group 1 Champion Stakes winner Vanburgh all backmakers and resuming.
The John O’Shea trained Hartnell and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina are also back markers and Rebel Dane also likes to settle off the speed so trying to find the pace in the race will be difficult.
Winx dominates the Warwick Stakes betting at $1.3o at Ladbrokes.com.au with Lucia Valentina the next in the market order at $5.50 ahead of Rebel Dane at $8.
The rest of the field are at double figure odds with Hartnell at $13, Vanburgh at $31, Who Shot Thebarman at $71 and Grand Marshall at $151.