Stable-mates Winx and Unforgotten are set to provide one of the early highlights of the spring when they meet in Saturday's Gr1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick. Winx, the world's best racehorse, will bid to for her 27th consecutive win and her 20th at Group 1 level, while Unforgotten, a brilliant winner of last season's Australian Oaks, will continue her build-up to the Caulfield Cup following her impressive win in the Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes two weeks ago. TAB have Winx listed at the prohibitive odds of $1.10, while Unforgotten shares the second line of betting with Le Romain at $12. A total of eight horses have accepted for the $500,000 weight-for-age feature.
Meanwhile, Chris Waller has confirmed that top-class mare Unforgotten's primary spring target is target to be the Gr1 Epsom Handicap in Sydney rather than the Caulfield Cup in Melbourne. "Following careful consideration, it has been decided that Unforgotten will be targeted towards the Epsom Handicap on September 28 before considering options available to her in Melbourne," Waller said. "At this stage she is unlikely to feature in the 2018 Caulfield Cup, however, further assessment will be made following her Epsom start." Waller added: "She has come through her stunning win in the Chelmsford Stakes in excellent order and she has accepted in the George Main Stakes [Gr1] on Saturday."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when outstanding 4YO Australian-bred mare Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock-Memories Of You, by Galileo) stormed home from midfield to score a dominant win in the $250,000 Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Ace High & Libran. Unforgotten, who became the fastest Australian Oaks winner in history last season (2:27 seconds), advanced her record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Australian Oaks, Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes) from 11 starts for $1,242,770 in earnings. Trainer Chris Waller said the Caulfield Cup was Unforgotten's primary spring target. "She is very special," Waller told Sky Racing. "She showed that in the autumn and the Oaks was very special in itself. That was great at the mile." He added: "We'll see where she fits in and where the weights settle [in the Caulfield Cup]. I could have gone Epsom and Cox Plate with her bar for Winx...[but] she won't be taking on Winx I can tell you that." Purchased by Waller for $360,000 at the 2016 NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, Unforgotten is out of a half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas winner Matiara.
Champion trainer Chris Waller has nominated almost half the possible field for next Saturday’s first Group 1 of the new season – the Winx Stakes (1400m). Along with Winx herself, looking to better Black Caviar’s record run, the Waller nominees include D’Argento, Libran, Religify, Single Gaze and Unforgotten. The remaining 7 entrants, spread across 7 stables, are Ace High, Alizee, Cabeza De Vaca, Classic Uniform, Invictus Prince, Luvaluva and Showtime. There will be a lot of interest to see which nominees stand their ground to be part of the history-making event at Royal Randwick. The feature's make-up could change yet with nominations for the Winx Stakes extended until 11am tomorrow (Tuesday).
Given Winx’s average starting price over the past year has seen the champion mare around the $1.15 mark or less, Cox Plate markets following official nomination closures have her at positively luxurious odds of $1.55, and not too dissimilar to the $1.50 offered months before her Gr1 Queen Elizabeth triumph. Understandable, as he was beaten less than a half-length in 2017’s Cox Plate, Humidor is a $15 quote ahead of overseas raiders Benbatl ($21), Cliffs Of Moher & Neorealism ($26), with D’Argento, Happy Clapper, Kementari and Unforgotten all at $31. Curiously, given their strong reputations, possible European challengers Poet’s Word and Saxon Warrior are both listed at $41, possibly casting doubt on the likelihood of both or either of them actually contesting the race.
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 New South Wales Racehorse Owners Association (NSWROA) has announced the nominations for its annual 'Racing's Night Of Champions' awards ceremony to be held in the Royal Randwick Ballroom of the Australian Turf Club in Sydney on 16 August. The nominees are:
Other awards to be presented on the night include the BOBS Horse of the Year, the Sydney Strapper of the Year, the NSW Racing Writers' Personality of the Year, the T J Smith Award, the George Moore Award, the Theo Green Award, the Bart Cummings Medal and of course, the NSW Champion Horse of the Year. The awards night will again be televised "live" on Sky Thoroughbred Central on the Foxtel platform, and also internationally by NSWROA's exclusive media partner Sky Racing, with highlights of the night also being shown across all Sky Racing channels.
The world's best racehorse, Winx, will make the first public appearance of her spring preparation when she trials at Rosehill on Monday. The Chris Waller-trained superstar mare will contest a star-studded open trial over 900 metres that will also feature Gr1 winners Chautauqua, D'Argento, Unforgotten, Kementari, Ace High and She Will Reign. The trial will be the first heat of the morning and is scheduled for 8:15am. Winx, who recorded her 18th Group 1 victory and equalled Black Caviar's record of 25 consecutive wins when strolling to a commanding win in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April, is being aimed at an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate victory in the spring. She is likely to kick off her historic campaign in the eponymous Group 1 Winx Stakes (previously Warwick Stakes) at Royal Randwick on 18 August.
#Winx getting some afternoon stretching with her physio ahead of her trial on Monday 23rd July @atc_races. She resumes her racing in the G1 #WinxStakes on Aug 18th @royalrandwick.@SkyRacingAU@7horseracing@cwallerracing@racing_nsw@TheValley@Racing@EP_Physio@worldsbesthorsepic.twitter.com/4Svqdmx7Ss— Winx (Official) (@winx_horse) July 18, 2018
Single Gaze will have her first trial for new trainer Chris Waller at Warwick Farm on Friday. Formerly trained by Nick Olive, Single Gaze (Not a Single Doubt-Redaluca's Gaze, by Intergaze) was retired at the end of the autumn and sold privately to celebrated Japanese breeder Katsumi Yoshida who has decided to continue racing her. Single Gaze won the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) as a 3YO before making excellent progress as an older mare to be placed in a Group 1 Caulfield Cup, Group 1 CF Orr Stakes, and Group 1 Ranvet Stakes. She will contest the opening 800m heat on Friday that will also see fellow Group 1 winners Alizee, Unforgotten, D'Argento, and the smart Pierata line up.
On day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) celebrated an elite race success when his outstanding 3YO daughter Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock-Memories Of You, by Galileo) outclassed her rivals when charging home from midfield to score a record-breaking win in the $1 million Gr1 Australian Oaks (2400m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Hiyaam & Miss Admiration. Unforgotten, who bounced back from an unlucky defeat to Hiyaam in the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes, became the fastest Oaks winner in history setting a new race record of 2:27 seconds. She advanced her record to 5 wins (including the Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes) from 9 starts for $1,095,520 in earnings. Trainer Chris Waller said the best was yet to come from Unforgotten. "I think she has a very bright future. The most exciting part of this win today was like two starts ago, she was brave. It's fantastic," Waller told Thoroughbred News. "We won't be rushing to step her up to a Caulfield Cup or a Melbourne Cup. We'll keep our sights low and see how she comes back as a four-year-old." Purchased by Waller for $360,000 at the 2016 NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, Unforgotten is out of a half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas winner Matiara.
Unforgotten became the fourth consecutive NZ Bloodstock graduate to win the time-honoured Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday. The sequence began in 2015 when Gust of Wind (Darci Brahma), a $90,000 Premier Sale purchase, beat subsequent superstar mare Winx to claim the race. Gust Of Wind is the last horse to defeat Winx who has now won 25 races in succession. The $65,000 Select Sale buy Sofia Rosa (Makfi) followed in 2016, then Bonneval (Makfi) last year. Bought for $150,000 at the 2015 Premier Sale, Bonneval was crowned New Zealand's Horse of the Year for 2016-17. Champion ex-pat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller secured Unforgotten for $360,000 at the 2016 Premier Sale, and the filly was quick to show promise with four wins from her first seven starts including the Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) in mid-March. Unforgotten was bred by Roncon and was offered by Curraghmore at the 2016 Premier Sale. Raced by Waller, Magic Bloodstock Racing, Mr F W Cook, Mrs C M Cook, Mr N A Greenhalgh, Mrs M T Greenhalgh, Mr R Shrimpton, Mrs C Shrimpton, Mr I Bruce, Mr R Smith, Mr P Y W Ng, Mr K H Warriner, Mr J T C Lake and Mr B L Mathieson, Unforgotten has now won five of her nine starts for $1,095,520 in earnings.
Chris Waller has no doubt that Australian Oaks favourite Unforgotten is a Group 1 calibre filly, he is just not sure whether tomorrow's fillies classic at Royal Randwick will be the race that sees her fulfil that potential. "She certainly has group 1 ability. We don't know whether that will be good enough to win this race because there are so many good fillies here," Waller told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The Kiwi fillies really make the race interesting because they have been over the distance in the Oaks over there...but we are confident in our filly's ability." Unforgotten first announced herself as a classic contender when stringing together four consecutive wins last season, and she has done nothing to diminish Waller's lofty opinion this time in recording a slashing win in the Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) before an unlucky last-start second to Hiyaam in the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). "She is one I have liked since the summer, when she won a few in a row, and this has been the target," Waller said. "She has came through the Vinery very well, where Hiyaam beat us fair and square. We got back and really there was no way we could make up the ground the way the race was run." He added: "I think at 2400 metres she will have the ability to be closer and we are hoping there is a little more pressure in the race because being out of a Galileo mare, she is going to stay the trip strongly." Unforgotten certainly possesses the pedigree of an Oaks filly being out of a Galileo half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas winner Matiara.
New Zealand trainer Michael Pitman is bullish about the prospects of smart filly Savvy Coup (Savabeel-Eudora, by Pins) claiming the trans Tasman Oaks double when she contests the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Savvy Coup has established herself as the dominant staying filly in New Zealand having posted impressive wins in the Gr3 Lowland Stakes (2100m) and Gr1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at her past two outings. Those are the same two lead-up races used by fellow Kiwi fillies Bonneval and Sofia Rosa before going on to claim the Australian Oaks in 2017 and 2016 respectively. "It's a well-worn path going through the Lowlands to the Oaks then the Oaks here," Pitman told racingnsw.com.au. "She has a good turn of foot. Her sectionals have always been pretty quick and she has good tactical speed that a lot of horses don't have." Pitman added: "It's a big bonus for us this one, already having the NZ Oaks in the bank." Savvy Coup is on the third line of betting for the Aust Oaks at $7.50 with TAB. The Chris Waller-trained Unforgotten is favourite in a relatively open race at $4.
Chris Johnson has been confirmed as the rider for Savvy Coup in Saturday week's Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick, reports NZ Racing Desk. Co-trainer Michael Pitman said Hugh Bowman had been approached for the mount, but he has opted to partner the Chris Waller-trained Unforgotten in the $1 million 3YO fillies classic. Johnson has an outstanding record with Savvy Coup (Savabeel-Eudora, by Pins) having ridden her in four of her five wins, including a comfortable last-start victory in the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham. Savvy Coup flies out for Sydney today.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore's deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO New Zealand-bred filly Hiyaam (High Chaparral-Mazarine, by Zabeel) was able to dictate in the lead before powering clear over the concluding stages to win the $500,000 Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) for 3YO fillies, over the unlucky Unforgotten & Aloisia. A homebred for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Hiyaam improved her record to 2 wins and 4 placings (including the Gr1 VRC Oaks & Gr2 ATC Phar Lap Stakes) from 8 starts for $477,740 in earnings. Hiyaam is now a $7 chance with TAB for Saturday week's Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick. "Even after the line I was still humming down the side. Bring on the Oaks, that's for sure," jockey Michael Dee told Sky Racing. "If she can get the lead and run in the Oaks she will be hard to beat." Hiyaam is out of the beautifully related Mazarine (Zabeel), a three-quarter sister to 2003 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Shower Of Roses from the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes winner Marquise. This makes Hiyaam a granddaughter of legendary broodmare Eight Carat, dam of champion galloper and Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal, his exceptional but ill-fated triple Gr1-winning brother Mouawad, Gr1 VRC Sires' Produce winner Kaapstad, and Gr1 Railway Handicap winner Diamond Lover.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when smart 3YO Australian-bred filly Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock-Memories Of You, by Galileo) opened her stakes account when charging home for a brilliant last-to-first win in the $200,000 Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) for 3YOs, defeating Holy Snow & Hiyaam. Unforgotten, who bounced back to from after suffering from cardiac arrhythmia first-up in the Gr1 Surround Stakes two weeks ago, improved her record to 4 wins and 1 placing from 7 starts for $307,020 in earnings. Purchased by her trainer Chris Waller for $360,000 at the 2016 NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, the well-bred Unforgotten is out of a half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas winner Matiara.
At Keeneland in the US, 3YO filly Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection-Thundercup, by Thunder Gulch) scored by 3.25-lengths for trainer Larry Jones in the US$500,000 Gr1 Ashland Stakes (8.5 furlongs) for 3YO fillies, over fellow fillies Angela Renee (Bernardini-Pilfer, by Deputy Minister) & Silverpocketsfull (Indian Charlie-Unforgotten, by Northern Afleet). This was the first Gr1 victory for Lovely Maria who took her record to 3 wins and 3 placings from 7 starts for US$402,600 earnings.
Former Coolmore shuttler Giant's Causeway (Storm Cat-Mariah's Storm, by Rahy) added a US graded-stakes success when 4YO daughter Swift Temper (Giant's Causeway-Glasgow's Gold, by Seeking The Gold) scored a 4.5-lengths victory in the US$150,000 Gr3 Gardenia Handicap (8 furlongs) for fillies & mares at Ellis Park in Kentucky. Swift temper (ridden by Victor Lebron for trainer Dale Romans) defeated fellow 4YO mares Marquee Delivery (Marquetry-Fast Delivery, by Little Missouri) & Unforgotten (Northern Afleet-Forgotten Secret, by Secret Slew). Overall Kentucky-bred Swift Temper now has 3 wins from 19 starts for US$189,679 earnings.