A total of 88 nominations have been weighed for the 153rd running of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) which will be run at Royal Randwick on 29 September. This year's edition will be run with a 50kg minimum weight (48kg minimum weight for three-year-olds) with total prize money of $1 million. The top weight for the race is defending champion and triple Gr1 winner Happy Clapper who has been allocated 59kg. Next is recent Gr1 Memsie Stakes winner Humidor with 59kg, followed by Le Romain at 58kg and Hartnell with 57kg. Another notable nomination is Randwick Guineas winner and Memsie Stakes runner-up Kementari with 55.5kg. The highest-weighted mare is the 2017 Gr1 Cantala Stakes winner Shillelagh with 53kg, while the 3YOs nominated for the race - Fighting Harada, Master Ash, Tavisan and Seabrook, have all been allocated 48kg. Click here to view Epsom Handicap weights.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred entire Showtime (Snitzel-Flidais, by Timber Country) showed the benefit of race fitness when scoring a narrow front-running win in the $200,000 weight-for-age Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Hartnell & Widgee Turf. The well-bred Showtime improved his record to 3 wins (including the Gr2 Stutt Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr2 Sliver Slipper Stakes) and 8 placings (including the Gr1 All Aged Stakes & Gr1 Futurity Stakes) from 17 starts for $624,230 in earnings. A $1.1 million yearling from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, Showtime is a full-brother to Gr1 Galaxy winner Sweet Idea from Gr1 Metropolitan & Gr1 Ranvet Stakes winner Electronic.
Chris Waller described Winx's spring preparation as "perfect" after watching the superstar mare gallop between races at Randwick on Saturday. "I thought bringing her here would help stimulate her without having to go too hard whereas this morning at Rosehill I would have had to go quite quick to get the same energy and benefit from the workout," Waller told racingnsw.com.au. "Everything is in order. The only thing we have to worry about is her safety. We don’t have to make her run faster or do anything different. We know where she is at and she is perfect in terms of her body weight, breathing and her attitude." Winx is still scheduled to trial on her home track at Rosehill tomorrow where she will line up against a star-studded field that includes stable-mates Unforgotten, D'Argento, Single Gaze, as well as Hartnell, Alizee and Ace High. The 1000 metre open trial will be the first of the morning and is scheduled for 8:15am. Winx, who is being aimed at an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate victory in the spring, will kick off her historic campaign in the eponymous Group 1 Winx Stakes (previously Warwick Stakes) at Royal Randwick on 18 August.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $600,000 weight-for-age Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) to be run at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Saturday. First run in 1866, the All Aged Stakes has stood the test of time as one of Australia's genuine weight-for-age Group 1 contests. And a perusal of its honour roll shows why with past winners including Carbine (1889 & 1890), Wakeful (1902), Amounis (1930), Peter Pan (1935), Ajax (1938-40), Bernborough (1946), Noholme (1960), Tobin Bronze (1967), Emancipation (1984), Rough Habit (1992 & 93), Sunline (2000 & 2002), Atlantic Jewel (2012) and All Too Hard (2013). This year the clear race favourite is dual Gr1-winning colt Trapeze Artist who is fresh of an impressive win in the Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) two weeks ago. TAB currently have the Gerald Ryan-trainee at $2.25 to claim his third top-flight success, ahead of Brave Smash at $8.50, and Le Romain and Hartnell at $9. Trapeze Artist, who is currently ranked the equal fourth-best horse in the world with a rating of 123, should prove too strong for his rivals from whom he will get a handy 2.5kg advantage under the weight-for-age scale.
James Cummings is hoping that Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) can maintain his good fresh record when he resumes in Saturday's Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick. The star Godolphin galloper lived up to his strong first-up record when resuming with a slashing win in the Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) in the autumn, and Cummings is quietly confident he can repeat the dose on Saturday. "We gave him a six week break and he looks nice and fresh coming into this race, which is how we wanted him to be," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "His work has been very good and his first-up record isn't bad. He had a nice blowout in a barrier trial and he seems to have come on again...we feel he can run quite a cheeky race." Cummings added: "He's in good shape and it would be satisfying to see him get back into the form that he was in when he beat Brave Smash first-up in the Orr Stakes." Hartnell is on the fourth line of betting for the All Aged at $9 behind dominant favourite Trapeze Artist at $2.20.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, 7YO French-bred gelding Gailo Chop (Deportivo-Grenoble, by Marignan) remained unbeaten this preparation when scoring a strong front-running victory in the $200,000 weight-for-age Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) for 3YO+, defeating Single Gaze & Hartnell. Owned by OTI Racing, Gailo Chop advanced his record to 12 wins (including the Gr1 Caulfield Stakes, Gr1 Mackinnon Stakes, Gr3 TS Carlyon Cup, Gr3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte & Listed Penny Edition Stakes) and 5 placings (Gr1 Prix d'Ispahan) from 25 starts for $2,589,047 in earnings. Trainer Darren Weir confirmed that Gailo Chop would now head to the Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on 10 March before travelling to Sydney to for the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney on 14 April. "He's a great horse with a great racing style," Weir said. "Just watching him, he really seemed to be enjoying that." Weir added: "He went at a good strong gallop. It was a beautiful bring-on gallop to have him fit enough for the 2000 metres [the Australian Cup] in a couple of weeks."
Godolphin trainer James Cummings sees no reason why stable star Hartnell cannot continue on his winning way in Saturday's Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield. The UK-bred import maintained his excellent first-up record when resuming with a slashing win in the weight-for-age Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield two weeks ago. "He's done even better than I expected. Having him in the rural environment at Osborne Park has suited him perfectly," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "Running him at Caulfield on Saturday will keep him in touch with the other horses and then we'll be taking him back to Sydney and coming back again for the Flemington race." Cummings added: "After that we'll have a think about some Group 1s in Sydney like the Ranvet Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth." Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) is the current $3.50 TAB favourite for the Peter Young ahead of fellow imported galloper Gailo Chop at $3.60.
Trainer Mick Price has confirmed that top colt Mighty Boss will take his place in Saturday's $500,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. A surprise 100-1 winner of last season's Gr1 Caulfield Guineas, Mighty Boss (Not A Single Doubt-Bullion Mansion, by Encosta de Lago) showed that win was no fluke when resuming with an unlucky 7th (beaten just 0.9 length) behind Hartnell in the Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield two weeks ago. "He's a tough horse, and I think he's pulled up really well," Price told racing.com. "He worked on the steeple grass last Saturday morning and worked well. He worked with Holy Snow this morning [Tuesday] on the Polytrack. He worked super. He came back in and had a little pigroot after he galloped, so he will definitely be accepted with and the plan is to run." Price added: "He's going to take his place. He just needs to draw a gate, have a bit of luck in running, no traffic and I'm sure he'll be competitive again." Price is hoping Mighty Boss can be at his peak for the Gr1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on 3 March.
Trainer Nick Olive says Single Gaze continues to thrive ahead of Saturday's Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield. Single Gaze (Not a Single Doubt-Redaluca's Gaze, by Intergaze) was considered an unlucky runner when resuming with a slashing second to Hartnell in the Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) on 10 February, and Olive says the 5YO has made the necessary improvement to go one better in Saturday's $200,000 weight-for-age feature. "She has come through that run [CF Orr] with flying colours and gone forward off it. She had a nice gallop this morning [Tuesday] on the steeple grass at Caulfield and she worked really well," the Canberra horseman told racing.com. "She sat off another horse, went three-quarter pace over 1000 metres and galloped home the last 600m. It was a good solid gallop and they came home the last 400m in 22.8 so we were really pleased." Olive added: "I think the 1800 metres will suit her second-up. She is a little more dour going in to her second run, we think she will be one of the main chances on Saturday, we think she will give it a good crack."
Godolphin head trainer James Cummings has provided some important feedback for racing fans and punters alike as the racing season builds towards major events in both Sydney and Melbourne. Cummings made the decision to take Hartnell back to Osborne Park after his slashing Gr1 CF Orr Stakes win, noting, "He's a horse who loves to be turned out after his training, and we get the opportunity to do that up here. That gives me every chance to get him big and round and bouncing around before his next start. We've got plenty of options on the table and we haven't locked in anything yet because we need to see how he recovers from that big, first-up performance." Meanwhile, Cummings is brimming with confidence after the first-up pummeling Kementari gave his rivals in the Eskimo Prince Stakes, revealing that the boom son of Lonhro will have another run before being set for the Gr1 Randwick Guineas early in March.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, triple Gr1-winning former English Derby victor & successful Darley shuttler Authorized (Montjeu-Funsie, by Saumarez) celebrated an elite race success when 7YO UK-bred gelding Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) maintained his excellent first-up record when resuming with a slashing win in the $500,000 weight-for-age Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Single Gaze & Brave Smash. The Godolphin-owned Hartnell improved his record to 12 wins (including the Gr1 The BMW, Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes, Gr2 Hill Stakes, Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr3 Sky High Stakes & Gr3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket) and 13 placings (including the Gr1 Cox Plate, Gr1 Melbourne Cup, Gr1 Underwood Stakes, Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes, Gr2 Apollo Stakes, Gr1 Ranvet Stakes, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes & Gr1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud) from 38 starts for $4,766,610 in earnings. Trainer James Cummins said Hartnell could very well now head to Sydney for a clash with champion mare Winx in the Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 3 March. "I would like to run him in the best race available to him and that might be the Chipping Norton," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "I also like the idea of keeping him fresh, so we'll see how he comes through this win. He's a unique horse...I haven't trained one like him."
Godolphin trainer James Cummings is expected a bold showing from stable star Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) in tomorrow's Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. "He looks good and he's feeling well; I think he's in really good shape," Cummings said. "What I like is that he is carrying good condition into Saturday's race. When he's got that bit of condition on him, I feel that he races very well." Cummings added: "His win in the Lawrence [Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes] was probably his best performance last time in and although Craig might have to make use of him from his wide gate, I think he can run really well." Hartnell, who was last seen finishing tailed off (20th of 23) in the Melbourne Cup, is currently the $5.50 TAB second favourite for the CF Orr behind former Japanese galloper Tosen Stardom at $4.60.
Assuming diametrically opposing views on the outcome of the race that stops the nation, below are a selection of first three tips, and why, for this afternoon.
PETER MULLEN (DAILY NEWS CHIEF COLUMNIST)
GARY KNOWLES (BREEDING&RACING EDITOR)
Trainer James Cummings has confirmed that Hartnell will run in Tuesday's $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) after receiving the endorsement of Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed. Hartnell, who finished third in last year's Melbourne Cup, will carry top weight of 57.5kg on Tuesday and his trainer is convinced he is again a worthy contender. "To have a Melbourne Cup runner for Sheikh Mohammed is a great honour and is also a credit to our team here in Australia who have got Hartnell to a level where he is a genuine contender," Cummings told Godolphin.com. The dual Gr1 winner convinced Cummings to run him in Australia's most famous race after an impressive track gallop at Flemington on Tuesday. "I was delighted with him…he's nice and bright and alert," Cummings said. "We are going to the Cup with a horse who puts himself into his races, whose form is sound and who can run 3200 metres." Cummings says his confidence is buoyed by the strong form lines around Hartnell this spring. "He's been racing a bit like a handicapper at his last couple of starts and the form around him is very strong," he said. "The form from the Makybe Diva Stakes and the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes in which he's run well has been the best of the spring." He added: "Humidor showed that with his run behind Winx in the Cox Plate that it's as good a form reference as you'll find." Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) is currently a $26 chance with TAB for the Melbourne Cup.
Despite an unplaced finish in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), Hartnell has won the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship. The Godolphin galloper went into Saturday's fourth and final leg of the series with 18 points. The only other runner in the Caulfield Stakes field who was within striking distance on the table was star New Zealand mare Bonneval with 10. But despite being the two favourites for the weight-for-age race, the pair both finished outside the placings behind the winner Gailo Chop. Back markers Bonneval and Hartnell were unsuited to the tempo of the race and finished sixth and ninth respectively. Hartnell finished the Spring WFA Championship with 18 points, one ahead of last year's champion Black Heart Bart. Gailo Chop earned 10 points from Saturday's win to move into third place on 16, while Bonneval collected one point to finish fourth on 11.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Bonneval goes into Saturday's $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne in a rich vein of form, reports NZ Racing Desk. The reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year, who has emerged as the best Kiwi mare since Caulfield & Melbourne Cups winning heroine Ethereal, has hitherto won 7 of her 10 career starts, including three Group One victories in her current winning sequence of six. "She just keeps winning and winning good races. People love a horse that keeps raising the bar and winning impressively," Forsman said. Bonneval, who is currently the $3 TAB favourite for the Caulfield Stakes ahead of Hartnell at $3.10, will use the race as her final preparatory run for the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 21 October. "She's going really well and she's just about to let go of the last bit of her winter coat so she's looking good at the right time," Forsman continued. "She's shaping like she's looking for a staying trip, looking for further than the 2000m on Saturday, but there's no doubt she's got the class to win." Bonneval Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) will be reunited with Melbourne jockey Damian Lane who rode her to victory in the Gr2 Feehan Stakes two starts back.
The 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring Weight-For-Age Championship is set for an exciting conclusion with the running of the fourth and final leg, the $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on Saturday. Hartnell won the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and finished second in the Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), earning 18 points and a position at the top of the table. With 10 points available to the winner on Saturday, only star Kiwi mare Bonneval is within striking distance of Hartnell. Purchased at the 2015 Premier Sale at Karaka for $150,000, Bonneval has won six Group races in succession, including the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks, Gr1 Australian Oaks, and Gr1 Underwood Stakes. Adding interest to Saturday's race will be the presence of several internationals, headed by the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair of Johannes Vermeer and Taj Mahal, while fellow Irish trainer Willie Mullins will be represented by Riven Light. The Caulfield Stakes will be run as Race 7 with a starting time of 3.50pm (5.50pm NZT).
Trainer Tony McEvoy is adamant that Royal Symphony is the horse to beat in Saturday's $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne. McEvoy hasn't lost faith in his stable star, despite Royal Symphony relinquishing his unbeaten record when 4th to Perast in a slowly run Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) eleven days ago. "I said at the 1000m that he couldn't win and for him to get as close as he did, when they were going so steady, to my eye it said it was a very good run and the clock backed it up," McEvoy told racing.com. "He ran a faster last 600m than Santa Ana Lane and Mr Sneaky (1st and 2nd in the Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes), and faster 600m, 400m and 200m than Bonneval and Hartnell [1st and 2nd in the Gr1 Underwood Stakes]." McEvoy added: "It was probably the best run of his career and his first defeat…we just need a good, even speed." Royal Symphony is currently the $4 TAB favourite for the Guineas.
Godolphin trainer James Cummings is confident that Hartnell can reverse the form with his last-start conqueror Bonneval when the two meet again in Saturday’s Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne. Hartnell, as usual, has performed with distinction at all three starts this preparation. The UK-bred son of derby winner Authorized kicked off his spring campaign with a brilliant win in the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), before finishing runner-up in both the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) – the latter behind star Kiwi mare Bonneval. “He looks to be in the best condition of his whole preparation,” Cummings told Godolphin.com. “We’ve been a bit disappointed that he couldn’t win at his last two, but we haven’t been disappointed with his effort.” Cummings added: “He’s had three runs to bring to his top and I’m delighted with where he’s at, he’s really blossomed since the Underwood Stakes. I think he’ll give himself every opportunity to turn the tables on what is obviously a very good mare.”
Winx was last night crowned Australian Horse of the Year for the second straight year at an awards ceremony hosted by Racing Queensland in Brisbane. The honour comes as the Chris Waller-trained mare prepares to create history by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates at Moonee Valley on 28 October, following her stunning win in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. Waller claimed the Bart Cummings Award as the leading Group One winning trainer for 2016/17, while Winx’s regular jockey Hugh Bowman won the Champion Group One Jockey Award. Remarkably, Winx finished 115 votes ahead of her nearest rival, Hartnell, with Chautauqua, Black Heart Bart and Almandin rounding out the nominees. The Australian Champion Racehorse category winners were:
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Westbury Stud's three-time Gr1-winning shuttle stallion Makfi (Dubawi-Dhelaal, by Green Desert) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO New Zealand-bred mare Bonneval (Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) confirmed herself as the second best mare in Australasia [behind Winx] when defeating a high quality field in the $750,000 Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) for 3YO+, over Hartnell & Gailo Chop. The reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year is now unbeaten in her two starts this campaign and improved her record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Australian Oaks, Gr1 New Zealand Oaks, Gr2 Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes, Gr2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic & Gr3 Hawkes Bay Lowland Stakes) and 1 placing (the Gr3 WRC Desert Gold Stakes) from 10 starts for $1,582,469 in earnings. Co-trainer Murray Baker confirmed Bonneval's primary spring target is the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 21 October. "She's still got a bit of her winter coat to lose yet but we thought she had improved a bit from last start," Baker told racing.com. "She's obviously a very good filly. That's her sixth Group win in a row." Baker continued: "We will give her one more run, possibly the Caulfield Stakes, and then the Caulfield Cup." Jockey Hugh Bowman commented: "She's a genuine Cups contender this mare - I just wish I was light enough to ride her. She has a lovely future ahead of her." Bonneval is now the outright TAB favourite for the Caulfield Cup at $5.50 ahead of Humidor at $6. The well-bred Bonneval is a full sister to Gr3 winner Imposing Lass and a half-sister to Gr3 winners Full Of Spirit (Flying Spur) and Lady Cumquat (Duke Of Marmalade) from the Zabeel mare Imposingly, a three-quarter sister to New Zealand Derby winner St Reims and Gr1 Mackinnon Stakes winner and Melbourne Cup runner-up Champagne (both by Zabeel).
Darren Weir is confident that Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) can mount a successful defence of his title in Sunday's Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield, reports racing.com. The 5-time Group One winner is yet to win in three Group One outings this campaign, but that hasn't dented Weir's faith in the horse. "He's definitely got a stumbling block in Hartnell but we're really happy with the horse," Weir said. "He trialled really well at Monday at Coleraine and we're very happy with the horse." Weir is adamant that Black Heart Bart is in similar form as this time last year, it's just that the opposition may be slightly stronger. "It might be a bit tougher this season, but we think he's going really well," he said. "He's in really good shape but with Hartnell in it, it's not going to be an easy race." Black Heart Bart is second favourite for the Underwood at $4.80 with TAB. Godolphin's Hartnell is the dominant favourite at $1.80.
The $750,000 Gr1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) is the third leg of the four-race New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring WFA Championship Series and a spectacular field has assembled with the potential for major movement on the points table. Black Heart Bart has been placed in both the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes and the Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes to be on top of the Championship table at the halfway stage with 14 points. Breathing down his neck are the winners of the those two races, PB Lawrence Stakes winner Hartnell and Memsie Stakes victor Vega Magic with 10 points apiece. Black Heart Bart and Hartnell will renew their rivalry on Sunday and if either is successful will take a formidable lead in the Championship. The Series has an interesting newcomer on Sunday in the form of superstar Karaka graduate Bonneval, last season's New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year and New Zealand Horse of the Year who resumed with a top win in the Gr2 Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. The fourth and final leg of the NZB Caulfield Spring WFA Championship Series is the $1 million Gr1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on 14 October.
Champion mare Winx heads the 48 horses still in contention at the second acceptance stage for the $3 million Gr1 WS Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 28 October. Among the other notable acceptances were Melbourne Cup winner Almandin, Bonneval, Catchy, Egg Tart, Gingernuts, Hartnell, Humidor, Royal Symphony, Foxplay and Scales Of Justice. Winx is aiming to create history this spring by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates. Click here to view full list of Cox Plate second acceptances.
At Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) celebrated an elite race success when 5YO bay gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) finished powerfully to dominant a high class field in the $750,000 Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Hartnell & Black Heart Bart. In claiming his second Group One triumph, the New Zealand-bred Humidor improved his record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Australian Cup & Gr3 Manawatu Classic) & 7 placings (including the the Gr1 Livermol Classic, Gr2 TS Carlyon Cup & Gr2 Peter Young Stakes) from 18 starts for $1,874,344 in earnings. Humidor's 3rd dam is Champion Irish 2YO and Champion European 3YO Habibti, a half-sister to legendary blue hen Eight Carat. Trainer Darren Weir confirmed Humidor's primary target is the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield racecourse on 21 October. "He's always shown great promise and that was unbelievable really. It's just always been a matter of getting his manners right and I think we're winning the battle," trainer Darren Weir told racing.com. "The Caulfield Cup has been the plan with him all along and that's where we'll head."
It has been four years since Kerrin McEvoy rode his last top-flight winner for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, but his next big race success in the royal blue could come as soon as Saturday when he rides Hartnell in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. McEvoy rode more than 500 winners around the world – including 29 Group Ones - for Sheikh Mohammed during a 12-year tenure with Godolphin that ended in 2014. Among his feature race wins were the 2005 Gr1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Dubawi, and the Gr1 St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on Shamardal. "It's pretty exciting to get the call up for such a high-quality horse as Hartnell," McEvoy told Godolphin.com. Hartnell, who was allocated top weight of 58kg for the Caulfield Cup when weights were released on Tuesday, is a dominant favourite for the Makybe Diva after scoring a brilliant first-up win in the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 19 August. "He certainly showed he'd come back in the same form that he showed last spring," McEvoy said. "It was impossible to fault that win and he can only have been improved by it."
Hartnell has been allocated top weight for the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) to be run at Caulfield racecourse on 21 October. The Godolphin star looked to have returned from a break in career best form when scoring a brilliant first-up win in the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on 19 August. Entered to run in Saturday's Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, Hartnell is currently the $6.50 TAB favourite for the Caulfield Cup ahead of top-class New Zealand mare Bonneval at $8. The Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman prepared mare, who marked herself as a high class stayer in the making when claiming the Australian and New Zealand Oaks double last season, has been allocated 52.5kg. Other notable entries and their respective weights are Almandin with 56.5kg, New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts with 55kg, Australian Derby winner Jon Snow with 54.5kg, Curragh Cup winner Rekindling with 52kg, and dual Oaks winner Egg Tart with 51.5kg. Click here to view the full list of Caulfield Cup weights.
Eighteen horses have been nominated for Saturday's $750,000 Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. The weight-for-age feature will be run with a 16-horse capacity field. The two highest rated horses in the race, Godolphin's Hartnell and Black Heart Bart, also occupy the top two spots in pre-post betting with Hartnell a dominant $1.80 favourite ahead of Black Heart Bart at $5. The only other runners under double-figure odds are Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc and triple Gr1 winner Le Romain at $9. Click here to view all race nominations for Flemington on Saturday.
The 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring Weight-For-Age Championship heats up on Saturday with the running of the second leg, the $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. The prize money for the Memsie Stakes has doubled this year from $500,000 to $1 million, a move that has been rewarded with a sensational field for the first Group One race of the 2017-18 Australian racing season. Hartnell (Authorized) won the first leg of the Series, the $200,000 PB Lawrence Stakes on 19 August, but is bypassing Saturday's race. A stellar cast of proven elite performers will be out to move up the points table in his absence. Nine of the 12 runners are Group 1 winners, including last year's winner Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) and the high-class Karaka graduates Jon Snow (Iffraaj) and I Am A Star (I Am Invincible). The Series will have a new leader if either Charmed Harmony (8 points, 2nd in Leg 1) or Black Heart Bart (6 points, 3rd in Leg 1) finish in the first three on Saturday, while a Memsie Stakes win by Tosen Stardom (3 points, 5th in Leg 1) or Humidor (1 point, 6th in Leg 1) would send them to the top of the table. The NZB Memsie Stakes will be run as Race 7 with a start time of 4:10pm (6:10pm NZT). Click below to view the NZB Memsie Stakes field.
Winx is one of five horses shortlisted for the Victorian Racehorse of the Year award that will be announced at Peninsula Docklands in Melbourne on Sunday night, reports racing.com. The Victorian Racehorse of the Year finalists are:
At Caulfield in Melbourne, triple Gr1-winning former English Derby victor & successful Darley shuttler Authorized (Montjeu-Funsie, by Saumarez) added a Gr2 success when 7YO gelding Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) strode clear to score a dominant 2.3-length victory for trainer James Cummings in the $201,000 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) over the geldings Charmed Harmony & Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq). The Godolphin-owned Hartnell improved his record to 11 wins (including the Gr1 The BMW, Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, Gr2 Hill Stakes, Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr3 Sky High Stakes & Gr3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket) and 9 placings (including the Gr1 Cox Plate, Gr1 Melbourne Cup, Gr2 Apollo Stakes, Gr1 Ranvet Stakes, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes & Gr1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud) from 33 starts for $4,194,610 earnings.
Brad Rawiller expects Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) to benefit significantly from the run when he opens his spring campaign in tomorrow's Gr2 Charge Of The Light Horse P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) Caulfield. The 5-time Group One winner, who hasn't raced since finishing 5th in the Gr1 Kingsford-Smith Cup in Brisbane in late May, will then bid to defend his title in the Gr1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 2 September. "Going into this Saturday, there is no question that he is going to be better for the run," Rawiller told racing.com. "If I had drawn an outside barrier I think it might have been tough for him because he might not have been ready to make things happen like he normally would so we might have had to ride him a bit quiet." Rawiller continued: "But from barrier five, he's going to land in the nice position and we'll be able to give him a rest and it's going to bring him right into the race although he's going to be better for the run." Black Heart Bart is currently the $2.60 TAB favourite for the $200,000 weight-for-age feature, ahead of Godolphin's Hartnell at $3.20 and stable-mates Humidor and Tosen Stardom at $9. All other runners in the 12-horse field are at double-figure odds.
A star-studded field will clash in Saturday's $200,000 Gr2 Charge Of The Light Horse P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m), the first of four races in the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring WFA Championship. The 14-horse line-up features no fewer than eight individual Group 1 winners - namely Lankan Rupee (Redoute's Choice), Hartnell (Authorized), Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars), Gailo Chop (Deportivo), Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo), He's Our Rokkii (NZ) (Roc de Cambes), Abbey Marie (Redoute's Choice) and Montoya's Secret (High Chaparral). Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact) and Star Exhibit (Statue Of Liberty) have been Group 1-placed. The race will be run as Race 7 at 4:00pm (6:00pm NZT). The winner of Saturday's race will pick up 10 Championship Points, with 8 for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth, 3 for fifth and 1 each for horses placed sixth, seventh and eighth. The remaining races in the NZB Caulfield Spring Championship Series are the $1m Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) on 2 September, the $750,000 Gr1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) on 1 October, and the $1m Gr1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on 14 October.
The catalogue for Europe's Premier Yearling Sale, the 2017 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, is now online. Click here to view catalogue. Taking place from Tuesday 3rd October to Thursday 5th October, the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale will offer 502 lots, all of which are eligible for the £25,000 Tattersalls October Book 1 Bonus scheme. The flagship Tattersalls sale has attracted a truly outstanding collection of the finest yearlings to be found anywhere in the world, including 30 yearlings by Dubawi, 21 by Galileo, and 14 yearlings from the third crop of the world's highest-ever rated racehorse, Frankel. In addition, the catalogue features own or half brothers and sisters to 41 Group 1 and Classic winners and a massive 273 Group & Listed winners. These include male siblings to Galileo Gold, Highland Reel, Order Of St George, Postponed, Speedy Boarding, The Tin Man, and Waldgeist, as well as Authorized, Integral, and The Wow Signal. Amongst a host of beautifully bred fillies are own or half-sisters to Classic and Group 1 winners Akeed Mofeed, Halfway To Heaven, Hartnell, and Lillie Langtry. Star mares that have yearlings consigned include Sky Lantern, Danedream, Albanova, Attraction, Finsceal Beo, Islington, and Izzi Top. A host of top-class freshman sires will also be represented including outstanding Derby winner Australia and superstar miler Kingman who have 20 and 25 yearlings catalogued respectively. Click here for more information.
High-class galloper Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) has settled in well at Godolphin's Melbourne stable and will have a jump-out at Flemington on Friday, reports AAP. Hartnell, who hasn't raced since finishing a distant second to champion mare Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the autumn, is likely to open his spring campaign in the Gr2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 19 August. "He's great," head Godolphin trainer James Cummings told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "He's going to have a jump-out on Friday at Flemington and we will progress from there." Cummings added: "I would like to think that we know what to expect from him in the jump-out and if he can continue to please us the way he has the last month, then I think we should be in for a good campaign."
Godolphin's high-class galloper Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) is likely to avoid a clash with champion mare Winx in the spring, reports AAP. The closest the UK import has got to Winx in their seven meetings hitherto is 2.8 lengths, when he ran second to her in the Gr2 Apollo Stakes in February. He was also runner-up to the mighty mare in last year's Cox Plate when beaten eight lengths. Although a specific spring target has not been mentioned, new Godolphin head trainer James Cummings has confirmed that Hartnell will resume in the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 19 August. "We will kick him off in the PB Lawrence and we'll just go from there," Cummings said. "We are going to try to stick to a path that she [Winx] is not necessarily going to be treading down, hopefully." Cummings added: "I think that he looks to be in good shape…He hasn't won in six starts but I think if we can steer him into races where he's not chasing home a ghost, I think he would certainly be a chance."
On day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry (Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy) celebrated an elite success when his champion 5YO daughter Winx (Street Cry-Vegas Showgirl, by Al Akbar) once again proved she was in a class of her own when scoring a dominant 5.3 length win in the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, over 6YO UK-bred gelding Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) & 6YO gelding Sense of Occasion (Street Sense-Saywaan, by Zabeel). Winx, currently the equal highest rated horse in the world alongside champion US galloper Arrogate, posted her 17th consecutive victory and her 12th at Gr1 level to advance her incredible record to 21 wins (including the Gr1 Cox Plate - twice, Gr1 Caulfield Stakes, Gr1 George Main Stakes, Gr1 Doncaster Mile, Gr1 George Ryder Stakes - twice, Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes - twice, Gr1 Epsom Handicap, Gr1 Queensland Oaks, Gr1 Warwick Stakes, Gr2 Apollo Stakes - twice, Gr2 Theo Marks Stakes, Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes & Gr2 Furious Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Australian Oaks & Gr1 Flight Stakes) from 27 starts for $12,893,425 earnings. Jockey Hugh Bowman summed up the mighty mare's performance: "She is just so dominant," Bowman told Sky Racing. "Honestly, I think when she gets in a high pressure race, when there is a lot of pace from the start like there was in last year's Cox Plate, that's when you see the best of her." He added: "What a supreme athlete she is and what an honour it is to just be a part of her career." Waller confirmed that Winx would now be spelled and prepared for a tilt at a third Cox Plate in the spring. From the dual stakes-winning New Zealand mare Vegas Showgirl, Winx was a $230,000 purchase by Magic Bloodstock at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
Trainer John O'Shea says Hartnell will be in top shape when he once again clashes with champion mare Winx in Saturday's $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick. "Obviously Hartnell has to take on Winx, but he will run the best race of his preparation," O'Shea told Godolphin.com. "We're very happy. He's been set for one race [the Queen Elizabeth] and he really looks to be coming to a nice peak." O'Shea referred to Hartnell's most recent victory - his memorable 3.25 length win in last October's Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) – in assessing the 7YOs prospects. "Most importantly for him, gate one is a nice gate because if you go back to his Turnbull Stakes performance where he rolled along behind the speed, he should be able to get some cover and box seat," he said. However, the task confronting Hartnell is an unenviable one. The closest he has got to Winx in their six meetings hitherto is 2.75 lengths, when he ran second to her in the Gr2 Apollo Stakes last February.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the showpiece event of The Championships – the $4 million weight-for-age Gr1 Queens Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) – to be run at Royal Randwick this Saturday, 8 April. The race takes on special significance as the final autumn appearance of champion mare Winx, who will be chasing her 17th consecutive victory and an incredible 12th at Gr1 level. The world's equal highest rated horse (alongside Arrogate) has drawn perfectly in barrier three and will be partnered by her regular rider Hugh Bowman. Such is Winx's dominance that she is rated a $1.10 chance with Tab, practically rendering the Queen Elizabeth a non-betting affair except for those intrepid punters with Mariana Trench-like pockets. Winx's nearest market rival, Hartnell ($11), will jump from barrier one. The final field is:
Racing Victoria's Executive General Manager of Racing, Greg Carpenter says Winx’s George Ryder Stakes victory last Saturday was the equivalent of her stunning 8 length win in the Cox Plate in the spring, reports racing.com. Winx’s Cox Plate success earned her a career-high international rating of 132, making her the world’s best turf horse. "I thought Saturday's performance in the George Ryder was probably the equal of her Cox Plate win when she beat Hartnell by eight lengths last year," Carpenter said. "She ran into two serious racehorses in Le Romain and Chautauqua and won by seven-and-a-quarter lengths and for me, she's going to get back to a mark of around 132.” Carpenter added: “When the first listings were released for 2017, her and Arrogate were equal on 127 and there's no doubt that she surpassed that performance on Saturday in running to a figure of 130-plus.” The Chris Waller-trained Winx will be shooting for her seventeenth successive victory and her twelth at Gr1 level when she has her final autumn start in the showpiece event of The Championships - the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on 8 April.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney on a heavy track, 7YO German-bred entire Our Ivanhowe (Soldier Hollow-Indigo Girl, by Sternkönig) registered his second top flight victory since arriving in Australia when relishing the heavy track conditions to post a dominant 3.3 length win for trainers Lee & Anthony Freedman in the $700,000 Gr1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, over Godolphin's 6YO UK-bred gelding Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) & 7YO Irish-bred entire The United States (Galileo-Beauty is Truth, by Pivotal). Having his first start since the Melbourne Cup in November, Our Ivanhowe advanced his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Doomben Cup, Gr1 Grosser Preis von Bayern & Gr1 Grosser Preis von Bayern) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Cup) from 24 starts for $1,849,413 earnings. "The horse deserves his day in the sun. He's a gentleman, an absolute pleasure to have and we're grateful to have a horse who is so genuine," said co-trainer Anthony Freedman. Freedman said Our Ivanhowe is a chance of backing up in this Saturday's $1.5 million Gr1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens. Formerly trained by Jean-Pierre Carvalho, Our Ivanhowe was a dual Gr1 winner of the Grosser Preis von Bayern (2400m) and Grosser Preis von Bayern, in which he defeated subsequent German Derby winner Sea The Moon. Testament to Our Ivanhowe's class is the fact that he polled third behind Sea The Moon and Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist in Germany's 2015 Horse of the Year award.
Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) is poised to bounce back to his brilliant best and add a third Gr1 title to his resume when he lines up in Saturday's Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill. Widely regarded as Australia's second best racehorse behind Winx, Hartnell submitted his first below-par run in more than a year when eighth behind the champion mare in the Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick last month. However, Godolphin trainer John O'Shea says all the signs since have been positive. "We're very happy with him, he's in great order, he worked very well Wednesday morning and I'm sure he'll bounce back," O'Shea told Godolphin.com. "Three weeks has always been his ideal time between runs. He takes a week to get over a run and then he gets into his groove." O'Shea added: "There were genuine excuses for him last start, but again he's going to find a track on Saturday that is bottomless. We just need to get him back in the game and get a good positive run leading into the Queen Elizabeth, and hopefully he does that on Saturday."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $600,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) to be run at Royal Randwick this Saturday. The highest rated horse in the race is champion mare Winx (Street Cry-Vegas Showgirl, by Al Akbar) who will be seeking her 15th consecutive victory, and her 11th at the elite level, after resuming with a typically brilliant win in the Gr2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) two weeks ago. The world's best turf horse has drawn perfectly in barrier four and is the $1.10 favourite for the race. The only other horse under double-figure odds is Winx's arch rival and Apollo Stakes runner-up Hartnell ($8) who has drawn wide in barrier ten, while Apollo Stakes third Endless Drama is next best at $15 (barrier 7). Remarkably, such is Winx's dominance, every other runner is $51 or longer. The final field is:
1. HARTNELL (John O'Shea-Brenton Avdulla) 59kg (10)
2. PREFERMENT (Chris Waller-Joshua Parr) 59kg (8)
3. GRAND MARSHAL (Chris Waller-Jason Collett) 59kg (5)
4. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (Chris Waller-Tim Clark) 59kg (1)
5. LIBRAN (Chris Waller-Glyn Schofield) 59kg (3)
6. MAGIC HURRICANE (John O'Shea-Christian Reith) 59kg (2)
7. TAVAGO (Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-Tommy Berry) 59kg (6)
8. ENDLESS DRAMA (Chris Waller-Tye Angland) 59kg (7)
9. WINX (Chris Waller-Hugh Bowman) 57kg (4)
10. LASQUETI SPIRIT (Lee Curtis-Jay Ford) 53kg (9)
John O'Shea has not given up hope of Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) one day lowering the colours of champion mare Winx, but the head Godolphin trainer concedes it is unlikely to be in Saturday's Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick, reports racingnsw.com.au. "We've never met her on a day when I thought we could beat her," O'Shea said of the UK-bred gelding. "If we got to ten furlongs (2000m) in the Queen Elizabeth at Randwick on a day when the track was rain affected, I think we can give Winx a competitive race." He added: "I don't think that'll come until we get to the Queen Elizabeth. Hartnell is a very effective horse at 10 furlongs to a mile-and-a-half, Winx is very effective horse from six furlongs to a mile-and-a-quarter...she's a champion and Hartnell's just a really good horse." O'Shea confirmed that Hartnell's primary autumn target is the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on 8 April. "He's probably carrying a little more condition than we would normally have on him, which is an intentional thing that will ideally get him to the Queen Elizabeth spot on," O'Shea said. "We just want him to have a good, positive day and hit the line hard. When he gets to the Ranvet in three weeks I'm sure he'll be very effective."
A total of 151 nominations have been weighted for the 152nd running of the $ 3 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) to be run at Royal Randwick on 1 April. Heading the weights is Godolphin's dual Gr1 winner Hartnell, who has been allocated top weight of 58kg on a 50kg minimum (49kg for 3YOs). Next in line on 57kg is Black Heart Bart, a four-time Gr1 winner ranging from distances of 1200m to 1800m. Also allocated with 57kg are two international entries from Hong Kong, Beauty Only and Helene Paragon. Both horses are Gr1 winners in their own country. The Japanese mare Smart Layer is the highest weighted mare on 54.5kg, with the next highest weighted mares being First Seal and English with 53kg. Prized Icon and Astern head the 3YO and will be asked to carry 53kg, while Global Glamour and I Am A Star head the weights for 3YO fillies with 51kg. Global Glamour and Sense of Occasion are exempt from the ballot for winning the Gr1 Flight Stakes and Gr2 Villiers Stakes respectively. Click here to view all the weights.
The Paul Makin-owned Sky Kingdom will be on a trial for races such as the Gr1 Australian Cup when he lines up in the Makers Mark Open Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm tomorrow, reports AAP. By Coolmore's deceased former shuttler Montjeu, Sky Kingdom is the first foal of the dual Gr1-winning New Zealand mare We Can Say It Now, a daughter of Makin's globetrotting Australian and European Gr1 winner Starcraft. Formerly trained by William Haggas, the Irish-bred Sky Kingdom has showed plenty of promise winning two of his five starts to date, including the Gr3 Prix du Prince d'Orange (2000m) in France. Now trained on the Gold Coast by Starcraft's old trainer Garry Newham, whom Makin enticed out of retirement, Sky Kingdom had his first Australian start when finishing a creditable ninth (beaten just 2.8 lengths) behind Sir Moments in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup on 28 January. Makin hopes Sky Kingdom can develop into a Gr1 performer in Australia and one day retire to stud, but Newham says he still has a long way to go. "You have to nominate early for those big races and he is in the Australian Cup. Paul was [also] talking about the Chipping Norton Stakes in Sydney next week," Newham said. "But Sky Kingdom will want to win and win well at Eagle Farm before we talk about taking on Winx, Hartnell and the like."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry (Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy) added a Group success when champion 5YO mare Winx (Street Cry-Vegas Showgirl, by Al Akbar) resumed with a comfortable 2.8 length win for trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman in the $250,000 weight-for-age Gr2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, over 6YO UK-bred gelding Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) & 5YO Irish-bred entire Endless Drama (Lope de Vega-Desert Drama, by Green Desert). Having her first competitive race start since winning her second Cox Plate by a record-breaking 8 lengths in October, Winx showed why she is rated the world's best turf horse by posting her 14th consecutive victory matching the winning sequence of the legendary Phar Lap. Her incredible record now reads 18 wins (including the Gr1 Cox Plate - twice, Gr1 Caulfield Stakes, Gr1 George Main Stakes, Gr1 Doncaster Mile, Gr1 George Ryder Stakes, Gr1 Chipping Norton, Gr1 Epsom Handicap, Gr1 Queensland Oaks, Gr1 Warwick Stakes, Gr2 Apollo Stakes, Gr2 Theo Marks Stakes, Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes & Gr2 Furious Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Australian Oaks & Gr1 Flight Stakes) from 24 starts for $9,493,925 earnings. A $230,000 purchase for Magic Bloodstock from the Coolmore Stud draft at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Winx has now earned her connections prize money of $9,491,925. Jockey Hugh Bowman commented: "With the genuine speed I was able to travel really comfortably throughout. She was a little flat-footed when the pressure when on at the 600 [metres]…but within a blink of an eye it was all over," he told Sky Racing. Trainer Chris Waller said: "There will be a day when her sprint is not quite there and another champion takes her mantle, and we're prepared for that, but we are enjoying the ride while it lasts," he said. Winx will make her next appearance in the Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 25 February.
Trainer John O'Shea says he is simply looking forward to a "positive" experience when Hartnell renews his rivalry with Australia's champion racehorse Winx in the Gr2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday. Hartnell is yet to beat Winx in their four encounters to date, with their last meeting resulting in Hartnell finishing second to the mighty mare when she scored a record-breaking 8 length win in the Cox Plate in October. "Hartnell's come back in great shape, I couldn't be happier with his attitude and his fitness level," O'Shea told Godolphin.com. "She's a champion, we know that, but we're looking forward to a good positive day. These are the right races for him, so you go out there and race." Hartnell hasn't started since finishing third over the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup, but he will be kept to a maximum distance of 2000m this preparation with the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on 8 April his primary target.
Champion mare Winx is the star act among the seventeen horses nominated for Saturday's Gr2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick. The eyes of the racing world will be fixed on the 10-time Gr1 winner, who hasn't raced since her stunning and record-breaking 8 length win in the Cox Plate in October. The Chris Waller-trained Winx is currently a $1.20 Tab favourite for the $250,000 feature, ahead of Caulfield Guineas winner Divine Prophet at $11, and Cox Plate runner-up Hartnell & dual Gr1-winning filly Global Glamour at $15. Chris Waller could have as many as six runners in the race with Winx's stable-mates Preferment, Libran, Sacred Master, Endless Drama and Grand Marshal also nominated. Waller has mapped out a four-start autumn campaign for Winx which will see her run in the Apollo, the Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 25 February, the Gr1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on the 18 March, before ending her campaign in the showpiece event of The Championships - the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on 8 April. Click here to view all the nominations for Randwick on Saturday.
The Tattersalls December Sale always attracts a diverse range of buyers from all over the world and one nationality present in large numbers are the Australians. They include the Arrowfield Stud team of Paul Messara and Jon Freyer who secured Phyllis Maud for 360,000 guineas on day one of the Mare Sale. The daughter of Halling is out of the Anabaa mare Debonnaire, making her a half-sister to Godolphin's multiple Gr1 winner and recent Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate placegetter Hartnell. She is also a half-sister to Roz (Teofilo), runner-up in the 2012 Gr1 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket. "It is a little while since we have bought here," said Messara, who not only trains in his own right but is also manager of Arrowfield Stud, "but she is an obvious one for us to buy." He added: "She was a good mare herself, and she'll stay here to foal. We'll probably cover on southern hemisphere time." Phyllis Maud was offered by Godolphin with a Shamardal cover, whilst her Frankel foal half-brother sold for 250,000 guineas at the December Foal Sale last week.