Chapman simply stirring the pot
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:
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