Super star mare Winx has drawn nicely at barrier three is a capacity field of fourteen for the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx is having her first run back since winning her second Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2016 Melbourne Spring and trainer Chris Waller is happy with her condition for her first run for the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Regular rider Hugh Bowman will maintain his association with the Street Cry mare who has had two barrier trials in preparation for her return to the track for two thirds over 900m and 1000m at Rosehill on January 17 and 31.
Winx will be chasing her fourteenth win in succession after being undefeated since winning the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast during the 2015 Queensland Winter Carnival.
Along the way the champion mare has collected nine Group 1 trophies which includes the 2015 and 2016 Cox Plates.
Winx had her final solid gallop in the lead up to the Apollo Stakes on Tuesday when she shaded stablemate and Apollo Stakes rival Preferment at the end of a 1000m hit out.
The Waller stable tweeted the following statement reporting that everything was okay for the mare’s return to the race track.
“She galloped in company with Preferment and had the edge over him in the concluding stages and we thought both horses worked well. Hugh (Bowman) and Chris are both happy with where she is at this preparation and her fitness ahead of her first up run this Saturday in the Apollo Stakes at Randwick,” the tweet read.
Waller will have fine runners in the Apollo Stakes and will also saddle up Preferment (Jason Collett, barrier 8), Libran (Brenton Avdulla, 13), Endless Drama (Tyr Angland, 14), and Sacred Master (Glyn Schofield, 5).
Winx’s main rival, the John O’Shea trained Hartnell, has drawn midfield at barrier seven with James Doyle having his first race ride on the multiple Group 1 winner.
Hartnell and Winx last clashed in the 2016 Cox Plate when the O’Shea trained six year old finished eight lengths behind the champion mare when runner up in the Weight For Age Championship of Australasia.
Hartnell then went on to run third behind Almandin and Heartbreak City in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
O’Shea also has multiple runners in the Apollo Stakes and as well as Hartnell, will send around Magic Hurricane (Christian Reith, 12) and Ambience (Kathy O’Hara, 2).
Co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have accepted with former Hong Kong trained Savvy Nature and dual Group 1 winner Global Glamour who is also listed in the final field for the Group 2 $200,000 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
Jockey Tim Clark’s name has been put alongside of Savvy Nature (barrier 4) and Global Glamour (barrier 1) in the Apollo Stakes while Josh Parr has been booked to ride the three year old filly in the Light Fingers Stakes where she has drawn barrier twelve in the fourteen horse field.
The Randwick track was rated a heavy 9 on Wednesday morning at acceptance time but should improve in the lead up to the weekend with some fine weather predicted for late in the week.