Champion mare Winx’s rivals have been reduced to seven with the scratching of her stablemate Tom Melbourne in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Trainer Chris Waller had dual accepted with Tom Melbourne who will now take his place in the Group 3 $150,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) with Blake Shinn booked to ride.
Tom Melbourne has had two runs for the Waller stable for two seconds in the $100,000 Spring Preview Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on August 12 and in the Group 2 $200,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 2.
Winx will be having her third run in from a spell on her way to chasing a third consecutive win in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 28 and is marked at $1.08 at Ladbrokes.com.au to stretch her winning run to twenty this weekend.
Hugh Bowman will again be aboard Australia’s glamour mare who has drawn the rails in the George Main Stakes.
The closest to Winx in the betting is the Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper at $14 slightly ahead of the mare’s stablemate Foxplay at $16.
Winx will again wear a set of ear muffs that she donned for the first time in a race last start when she ran down the tearaway leader Red Excitement in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 2 to give her nineteen consecutive wins.
“She was very good last start in the Chelmsford in the barriers and I think the ear muffs may have helped but it is hard to really know,” Bowman said.
Waller decided to try the ear muffs on Winx in the Chelmsford Stakes to help her stay calm in the barriers after she bungled the start at her previous start and was a clear last in the early and middle stages before flashing home to score a narrow victory over her stablemate Foxplay in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 19.
Winx and Foxplay, with Btrenton Avdulla on board, are set to clash again in the George Main Stakes.