By: Grant Courtney for Woodbine.com
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, April 12, 2018 – On Friday evening, racing fans will get to see the mighty mare Winx, the world’s equal top rated horse on all surfaces. She has been the top rated turf horse on the planet the last two years and has developed a global following, despite never leaving her home shores of Australia. She races on a bumper card of racing that includes four Group 1 races. However, the large crowd will be there to cheer for one horse and see a part of history.
Canadian racing fans can watch and wager on all of the action live on HPIBet.com. First post on the 10-race card from Randwick is 9:25 p.m. ET on Friday evening with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, featuring Winx, slated for Race 7 at 1:05 a.m. ET.
Enjoy our preview below of the four Group 1 events.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1 2,000m WFA – Race 7, 1:05 a.m. ET)
No doubt this race is all about Winx as she endeavours to equal the record of Black Caviar, winning 25 races consecutively. She faces nine rivals, all out to break the streak and become the villain of the day. Among them is Humidor, who for a brief moment looked like he might have her measure in the Cox Plate last year. Most of these horses are well exposed, and Winx has had their measure on several occasions.
Irish visitor Success Days ($34.00) is an unknown, but locally we can line up his form through Johannes Vermeer, who ran very well in the Melbourne Spring Carnival last year. His last win was in July 2017 at York, where he had a narrow victory over Mondialiste, a Woodbine Mile (2015) and Arlington Million (2016) winner. He prefers cut in the ground, but will be facing a firm track on Saturday.
Race Speed: Gailo Chop and Classic Uniform are the lead horses. Irish visitor Success Days is a noted front-runner as well. His only chance to win this would be to go at a genuine gallop and test the stamina of the local contingent. So expect the speed to be good.
Winx ($1.15) is able to sit where comfortable, but usually in the back section of the field. Other key runners are Humidor ($12.00) (also from off the pace), Happy Clapper ($16.00) (adaptable in running style, but not a noted leader) and Ambitious (who is also adaptable). Ambitious ($31.00) is an interesting runner. He comes from Japan with some great credentials, boasting a victory over the legendary Kitasan Black. His last run here was a bottler, finishing runner-up in the Tancred Stakes (2,400m) after an unlucky passage.
Selections: Winx – Ambitious, Humidor, Happy Clapper
Australian Oaks (G1 3yo Fillies 2,400m – Race 6, 12:25 a.m. ET)
This looks a good edition of the fillies classic.
Race Speed: Hiyaam and Chilly Cha Cha look the leaders. Contessa Vanessa, Savvy Coup and Danzdanzdance will be close behind those. The speed should not be overly quick.
The Vinery Stud Stakes (2,000m) from two weeks ago is the key race, with the first three from that all running here. Winner of that race, Hiyaam ($5.00) (was able to lead wire to wire), and second placed Unforgotten ($4.00), who came from well off the speed, are prominent in betting markets. Aloisia ($6.50), who was posted wide and back of mid-field, finished third. The other key race is the Adrian Knox from last Saturday, where the winner Luvaluva ($5.00) lumped 60kg in defeating Chilly Cha Cha (third), who carried 53kg.
New Zealand Oaks winner Savvy Coup ($7.50) and runner-up Contessa Vanessa ($17.00) are here and runners from that race have a good record. Both come off a four-week break so are fresh. Savvy Coup was a dominant winner of that race.
Selections: Luvaluva, Hiyaam, Unforgotten, Savvy Coup
Sydney Cup (G1 3,200m – Race 8, 1:45 a.m. ET)
A full field faces the starter in this years edition of the Cup. It’s important to note that the race is run under handicap conditions; the other G1 races we look at are either WFA or set weights.
2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin is top weight and favourite, with stablemate Aloft second favourite. Japanese runner Prestwick ($12.00) (known as Pre Stwick here in Australia as we already have a horse named Prestwick) adds interest to the race and brings in an unknown form line.
Race Speed: Lasqueti Spirit, Five To Midnight, Aloft and Sir Charles Road are all expected to be on speed. Lasqueti Spirit is known to lead by a wide margin on occasions.
Almandin ($4.00) is the class runner of the field, coming off a WFA win at 2,400 in the Tancred Stakes, and was unlucky in the Australian Cup prior to that. Stablemate Aloft ($8.00) was a winner at 2600m last start and is well weighted here. Evergreen stayer, Who Shot Thebarman ($15.00), also ran well in the Tancred Stakes. Auvray ($13.00) was an impressive fourth in that race. Lord Fandango ($17.00) ran some great races during the Melbourne spring carnival and back on a dry track, with no weight should improve. The Japanese raider will need all of jockey Joao Moreira’s magic to win this, but will no doubt see out the trip. New Zealander Sir Charles Road ($6.50) was very good in winning the Chairmans Handicap last week, but does have to back up in seven days, however he does drop 6kg in the weights.
Selections: Aloft, Almandin, Who Shot Thebarmen, Sir Charles Road
Coolmore Legacy (G1 1,600m WFA – Race 9, 2:25 a.m. ET)
Formerly known as The Queen Of the Turf this fillies and mares race is probably the hardest of the four G1 races, with many winning chances. Most of these come through the Coolmore Classic (G1 1,500m) and the Emancipation Stakes (G2 1,500m), both at Rosehill Gardens last month. The key race outside those two is the Sunline Stakes run at Moonee Valley over 1,600m.
Race Speed: Prompt Response and Daysee Doom are our likely leaders with Silent Sedition and Spanish Reef in close attendance. Back markers are Abby Marie, Payroll and Heavens Above. The speed is likely to be moderate.
This is a wide-open affair, with the favourite showing $5.50 in early markets. Trainer Ron Quinton is well represented with Daysee Doom ($8.50) and favourite Dixie Blossoms ($5.50). Daysee Doom won the Coolmore Classic and Dixie Blossoms was third in the Emancipation. The winner of the Emancipation, Prompt Response ($8.50) will need to lead from wire to wire if she is to prevail. Silent Sediton was a good effort in the Coolmore Classic.
Abbey Marie ($26.00) comes off some good runs in WFA races in Melbourne, but will need to pass every runner if she is to win. Spanish Reef ($9.00) comfortably won the Sunline Stakes in Melbourne last month and will be prominent throughout. Alizee ($11.00) is the only filly in the race and comes through the Vinery Stud Stakes (2,000m), where she was very good.
Selections: Silent Sedition, Spanish Reef, Dixie Blossoms, Abbey Marie
If playing trifectas go wide!