Trainer Chris Waller has stuck to his word and will keep Winx racing in Sydney during the 2017 Autumn Carnival even though the glamour mare was among the first acceptances for the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 11.
Waller had kept Winx alive in the Australian Cup as a backup plan for the Autumn but announced that she would definitely be staying in Sydney for her next two runs in the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 18 and her grand final in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8, day two of ‘The Championships’.
“She can either go a hundred metres across the road to Rosehill or a thousand kilometres to Flemington,” Waller said.
“You can’t say no anymore because there might be a reason for us to go there, so it was just paid to keep options open.
“The VRC have been in touch with us but the plan was always been with Sydney with her in the autumn and it hasn’t changed. I can’t be clearer than that.
“Melbourne had her in the spring. She’ll do some of her racing there after she’s finished with the spring carnival here in Sydney.
“In autumn it’s all Sydney, it’s always been the plan.”
“She’ll be running the George Ryder and three weeks later in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.”
Winx scored her fifteenth straight win when she claimed back to back victories in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday, her tenth Group 1 win, and is the short priced $1.35 favourite for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Labrokes.com.au.
Waller has reported that Winx has pulled up in great order following her Chipping Norton Stakes win on a heavy track and will now start her build up heading towards the George Ryder Stakes.
“She was at the beach this morning, not sunbathing, walking through the water doing her recovery.
“The beauty of her racing on Saturday means she can now have a leisurely time for the next seven days and then start to gear up towards Rosehill.”
With Winx out of the Australian Cup betting, Ladbrokes.com.au now have the Darren Weir trained Humidor as the $4.20 favourite ahead the last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Jameka at $4.60.
The John O’Shea trained Hartnell is next in the betting at $6 but he is also likely to stay in Sydney as well to run in the Group 1 $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 18 before taking on Winx again in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
At his first run back from a spell Humidor ran on from the back to finish second to stablemate Stratum Star in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Lager Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 25 with Australian Cup $6.50 chance The United States in third spot with Jameka holding down fourth.
Early market order for the Australian Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Humidor, $4.60 Jameka, $6 Hartnell, $6.50 The United States, $8 Exospheric, $9 Stratum Star, $17 Awesome Rock, Ecuador, Endless Drama, Tom Melbourne, $21 Preferment, Real Love, $26 He’s Our Rokkii, Seaburge, Tally, $34 or better the rest.