Chap­man sim­ply stir­ring the pot

The Sportsman Weekend - - NEWS - NEIL EVANS

IT’S now of­fi­cial. Winx is a vic­tim of not just her own arm­chair great­ness, but the dis­tance she con­quers as well.

English com­men­ta­tor Matt Chap­man’s au­da­cious line about the great mare only beat­ing up mod­est op­po­si­tion stems from what all of Europe be­lieves is theirs – the clas­sic 2000m jour­ney and beyond.

If Winx was a pure sprinter, you would never hear such a quip – even from some­one des­per­ately try­ing to stir the PR pot.

Yes, it’s gen­er­ally com­mon knowl­edge that over any trip up to the mile, “Down Un­der” is glob­ally on top.

But beyond the mile, where Winx has rev­o­lu­tionised the clock, they still don’t want to give it up to her.

On the back of in­ter­na­tional dom­i­nance in our Cups and con­sis­tency right through Mel­bourne’s spring, the North­ern Hemi­sphere still be­lieve they know it all when it comes to thor­ough­breds over ground.

Yes, I’m the first to ad­mit they eas­ily boast su­pe­rior stay­ing and hand­i­cap­ping blood­lines, es­pe­cially when it comes to car­ry­ing weight. But this is about an al­most im­mea­sur­able weight-for-star and her pure sec­tional dom­i­nance.

What the UK also re­fuses to un­der­stand is the chal­leng­ing pres­sure and traf­fic of Aus­tralian rac­ing, what I call “sec­tional change-up and re­sponse time.”

Here, horses jammed up in big­ger fields are con­tin­u­ally asked to quicken and ex­tend on a dime in or­der to stay in con­tention, and avoid in­ter­fer­ence and checks in run­ning.

Across Europe the UK, they race al­most lanes, gen­er­ally in much smaller fields and with a pace­set­ter en­sur­ing a nice solid and even tempo is main­tained right the way through.

Chap­man’s ar­gu­ment is pre­dictable, yet hor­ri­bly flawed, es­pe­cially the High­land Reel ref­er­ence.

The Ir­ish star was four points higher than Winx on the global rank­ings when, as four-year-olds and car­ry­ing vir­tu­ally the same weight, they locked horns in the 2015 Cox Plate.

As we know, “Queen” – ad­mit­tedly aided by bi­ased rail ground where she zipped through from mid­field – clocked a stag­ger­ing 2.02.98min race record time, beat­ing High­land Reel into third by nearly six lens, with Group 1 Queen Eliz­a­beth win­ner Cri­te­rion sec­ond, nearly five lens off Winx.

Straight that run, High­land Reel won the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m), then the Group 1 King Ge­orge VI and Breed­ers’ Cup in 2016; be­fore the Group 1 Coro­na­tion Cup and Prince Of Wales dou­ble in 2017.

Quite rightly, he was one of the top stay­ers (2000m – 2400m) in the world, ex­cept for

fact Winx’s beyond gen­er­a­tional improve­ment had gone past over­drive.

Hav­ing dug into every fig­ure and mea­sure avail­able, pound for pound High­land Reel never got any closer to the great mare. Even at 2400m – and maybe beyond – she would have been just as dom­i­nant.

At his rat­ings “peak,” High­land Reel couldn’t hit Winx with a gun.

While Cox Plate his­tory was for so long leased by a “King,” it’s now mort­gaged a Queen, yet in my opin­ion, it was the au­tumn of 2017 when Winx at her best – win­ning Group 1 Ge­orge Ry­der on a Heavy 10 by seven and quar­ter lengths and her sec­ond of three Group 1 Queen Eliz­a­beth’s by a stun­ning five and a quar­ter lengths.

Over year ago, in this col­umn, I begged for an En­able v Winx show­down over 2220m.

Why that trip? Be­cause it’s ex­actly half way be­tween the Cox Plate (2040m) – in which Winx awaits un­touch­able his­tory to­mor­row – and the fa­mous Arc de Tri­om­phe (2400m) in which En­able has won the last two. No ar­gu­ments, no re­grets.

As for Godol­phin’s fly-inthe-oint­ment Ben­batl to­mor­row?

Give me a spell.

Winx will take care of this stal­lion by six lens.

In fact, Avil­ius for me is the Quinella run­ner.

Part 1 of the Moonee Val­ley turf ex­trav­a­ganza erupts tonight in Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) where I’m tip­ping Brave Smash ($9.50) to re­bound off a some­what dis­ap­point­ing run in The Ever­est and charge home.

Away from Winx to­mor­row, the best value is eightyear-old It’s Some­what ($7.50) in Group 2 Crys­tal Mile (1600m). Vir­tu­ally all on the same weight-for-age scale, he comes back in grade from an out­stand­ing third-up run in the Group 2 Hill Stakes be­hind Ace High and an even ef­fort

3 Craven Plate last start. Also, back in trip from where he draws on-speed is also a plus. Load up.

Here are my best-rated value se­lects for the Val­ley dou­ble:

Tonight:

Race 1 11. PROPELLE Ex­pect: $3.25 – $3.50 My Rat­ing: $2.20

Race 3 3. ICON­O­CLASM Ex­pect: $2.25 – $2.45 My Rat­ing: $2.00

Race 5 6. PREZADO Ex­pect: $4.60 – $4.75 My Rat­ing: $3.15 To­mor­row:

Race 2 7. IN­VIN­CI­BLE AL Ex­pect: $6.25 – $6.50 My Rat­ing: $3.55

Race 6 1. EL DO­RADO DREAM­ING Ex­pect: $5.00 – $5.50 My Rat­ing: $3.65

Race 7 1. IT’S SOME­WHAT Ex­pect: $7.00 – $7.50 My Rat­ing: $3.50

Good Luck @NeilE­vans­mail

It’s Some­what.

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