The Chris Waller trained Winx will need plenty of luck at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday after drawing an awkward barrier in the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m).
Winx is currently the $6 equal favourite for the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben on May 30 and will use this weekend’s outing as her final lead up to the fillies’ classic in a fortnight.
The Street Cry filly came up with barrier fifteen at acceptance time on Wednesday morning but could move in one spot in the final eighteen horse field if the first emergency Sam De Hero (barrier 7) doesn’t gain a start.
Top Brisbane jockey Larry Cassidy takes over from Hong Kong’s number one jockey Joao Moreira and has enough experience on the Sunshine Coast track to make sure Winx gets every opportunity to enhance her chances for the Queensland Oaks.
Tommy Berry had two rides on Winx during the Sydney Autumn Carnival for a win in the Group 2 $175,000 Cellarbrations Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 14 and a fifth in the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 28 before Moreira took over for a second to the John Sargent trained Gust In Wind in the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 11.
Sargent has Swift Lady going around in the Sunshine Coast Guineas and his filly has also been handed the visitor’s draw, coming up with barrier seventeen.
Swift Lady is also heading towards the Queensland Oaks and is coming off a last start win in a 1600m BenchMark 70 at Randwick on Anzac Day.
Sargent might not be too worried about drawing off the track and was wanting his filly to settle back in the field anyway.
“I want to see her getting back and hitting the line strongly at the Sunshine Coast,” Sargent told The Courier Mail.
“Having said that, Swift Lady is a bit like Kirramosa (Crown Oaks winner) and she has the brilliance to win over a distance like the Guineas.”
“Ric McMahon is a nice patient rider who I think will suit this filly really well.’’
While the two Queensland Oaks bound fillies were given the visitor’s draw, top local hope Worthy Cause came up with the number one marble and regular rider Justin Stanley is certain to give him the run of the race just behind the leading division.
The John Zielke trained colt shot into Winter Carnival calculations notching up his second win in succession in taking out the Group 3 $125,000 Surfers Paradise RSL Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at the Gold Coast on April 25 following his win in a 1350m three year old Handicap at Doomben at his previous start.
The consistent Merion has drawn in the second half of the field at twelve and comes to Queensland following a third in the Group 2 $175,000 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 28 and another third in the Group 3 $150,000 Johnnie Walker Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick three weeks later.
Leading local jockey Damian Browne takes over on Merion in the Sunshine Coast Guineas from Melbourne hoop Steven Arnold.
Gai Waterhouse will be represented by her Flying Spur colt Skylimit who draw gate six with Tegan Harrison in the saddle again after the pair ran second to Jumbo Prince in the 1625m three year old race at Toowoomba on May 2.