Freak­ish Winx shades Hart­nell hero­ics

At Ruakaka the pro­gramme is likely to start off with a Logan and Gibbs win­ner

Weekend Herald - - RACING - Mike Dil­lon punt­ing Greyhound of the Year fi­nal­ists Speedy young­ster shines Mile key to Ecuador’s chances Magic John­son at Oa­maru

Winx is a freak.

Yeah, okay, we know that. But it’s on so many lev­els it’s ac­tu­ally sur­real.

For starters, she is such a mar­quee act for rac­ing today, you can watch her, thrill to her and you don’t even have to risk a bet.

Re­lax­ing back and see­ing her go about her re­mark­able busi­ness alone straight­ens the hairs on your neck.

Here’s an equa­tion to con­sider: Hart­nell, the hot favourite for today’s A$ 750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes in Mel­bourne, fin­ished sec­ond to Winx in the A$ 250,000 War­wick Stakes, A$ 3m Cox Plate, A$ 250,000 Apollo Stakes and A$ 4m Queen El­iz­a­beth.

Hart­nell also won the A$ 500,000 Turn­bull Stakes, A$ 200,000 Hill Stakes, A$ 250,000 Chelms­ford Stakes, A$ 1.5m BMW and A$ 150,000 Sky High Stakes with no Winx in sight.

If Winx had not been born, Hart­nell would have won all seven and we would be say­ing this is Aus­tralia’s best since at least Kingston Town four decades earlier and pos­si­bly a touch bet­ter.

Winx’s great­ness can be gauged by the fact the win­ning mar­gins she has beaten Hart­nell by are 3.5 lengths, 8 lengths, 2.8 lengths and 5.3 lengths, one of Usain Bolt’s strides away from an av­er­age of five lengths.

How un­be­liev­able does that make her? We have run out of su­perla­tives to de­scribe what she has done, alone in just in her two ap­pear­ances this prepa­ra­tion — each one leg­end­mak­ing — but we will need to come up with some­thing if and when she does it again in today’s A$ 500,000 Ge­orge Main Stakes ( 7.15NZT) at Rand­wick.

She is at im­pos­si­ble odds to back, but Hart­nell is at $ 2 in Mel­bourne and why would he not win. James Cum­mings has given him an ad­mirable four weeks space since his run­away first- up vic­tory and while he will quickly need more than today’s 1600m, he should be fresh enough with Cum­mings’ as­tute month gap.

You can’t buy the en­ter­tain­ment value horses like Winx and Hart­nell pro­vide.

At Ruakaka this af­ter­noon, the pro­gramme is highly likely to start off as most of the north­ern track meet­ings have this year — with a Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs win­ner. Rock­abye­baby ( No6, R1) has been pro­gres­sively im­pres­sive in putting three wins to­gether and off 54.5kg there is no rea­son to sus­pect she can­not go close again. The stick­ing point could be Brighton ( No2). He ran in all three Group One 1200m and 1400m sprints last sum­mer and ac­quit­ted him­self well. He has had a first- up­per to sharpen him and with a small field and the step to 1400m his get- back, storm- home tac­tics should be well suited.

If tal­ented Fel­ton Road is to be a fac­tor in the fea­ture race, Ohceedee ( No1, R2) should quit maid­ens here. He has been a work in progress and has im­proved with ev­ery race. His sec­ond to Fel­ton Road at Te Rapa sug­gests he will take plenty of stop­ping here. Mo­fara ( No2) is tal­ented and The Ma­trix ( No5) is an im­prover.

Cos­mic Storm ( No7, R3) is jump­ing up two grades to R85, but she has abil­ity and with 54kg looks well placed. With the ex­cep­tion of Toorak Tower ( No6), the rest are solid, bat­tling stay­ers. Toorak Tower was dis­ap­point­ing when only third at the last meet­ing at Ruakaka, but the step up in dis­tance may see an im­prove­ment.

Race 4 is tricky, but the pair at the top, Kirk­in­til­loch ( No1) and Noth­ing Triv­ial ( No2) are per­haps the best. Bravo Supremo ( No4) is a chance for some of it.

If Hi­flyer ( No2, R5) is at his best he should win. He i s re­sum­ing and al­though the wet weather has forced him to miss bar­rier trial op­por­tu­ni­ties, trainer Peter Loch is rea­son­ably con­fi­dent he has the hugely promis­ing type close to his best. That would be enough to win.

Galaxy Miss ( No7) and Volks Light­ning ( No5) should be very com­pet­i­tive.

Took a mas­sive risk in tip­ping sta­ble­mates Fel­ton Road ( No1, R6) and Aim Smart ( No3) to pos­si­bly put it to the $ 1.45 favourite Prom Queen ( No6) in the big go, but the punt­ing grave­yard is full of those that changed their mind. I’m stick­ing, but com­mon sense tells you the bril­liant Prom Queen will be in the first two turn­ing for home and will sprint quickly. Al­though I’d be much more con­fi­dent of the Cam­bridge pair pick­ing her up at Eller­slie, the Ruakaka home straight i s short enough to tip the scales heav­ily in her favour. It should be a won­der­ful spec­ta­cle.

Fast and Fu­ri­ous ( No1, R7) could be value each- way. He has to carry his full 59kg top­weight, but is the type to go well fresh here.

Mon­go­lian Leg­end ( No4, R8) won too well at Mata­mata to go past him here where he is up a grade. He could be on the verge of some very good spring form. Lo­cal Float­ing Heart ( No6) looks a dan­ger.

After his out­stand­ing third to Winx last start, Cho­cante will be ex­pected to go close in the A$ 150,000 Kingston Town Stakes at Rand­wick. Blake Shinn takes the ride and he should suit the New Zealan­der.

At Flem­ing­ton, in­clude for­mer New Zealan­ders Sav­ile Row and Sara­cino in your mul­ti­ple bets in Race 4. Re­stric­tions on horse move­ments be­tween Aus­tralia and Hong Kong threaten Aus­tralian in­volve­ment in in­ter­na­tional events in the Asian rac­ing cap­i­tal. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has ex­pressed its dis­ap­point­ment at the de­ci­sion by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Water Re­sources to sus­pend equine move­ment pend­ing a re­view of biose­cu­rity pro­to­cols re­lated to the Equine Disease Free Zone be­tween Hong Kong and Conghua on the Chi­nese main­land. The club said the im­pli­ca­tions in­cluded Hong Kong horses trans­ported to Aus­tralia via New Zealand will re­quire 180 days’ res­i­dency in New Zealand. The DAWR has in­formed the Hong Kong Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries and Con­ser­va­tion Depart­ment it intends to sus­pend horse move­ments to Aus­tralia from Oc­to­ber 2. Three very classy grey­hounds are the fi­nal­ists for the 2016/ 17 NZ Greyhound of the Year ti­tle with the win­ner of the code’s ul­ti­mate award be­ing an­nounced in In­ver­cargill this evening. The Dave and Jean Fa­hey trained NZ Cup win­ner Amer­i­can War­rior was the high­est stakes earner ($ 130,555) last sea­son. Ring The Bell, now trained by Ray Ad­cock, com­pletely dom­i­nated the stay­ers over the lat­ter half of the sea­son pow­er­fully win­ning two group one stay­ing events. Thrilling Boris en­dured in­jury and ill­ness dur­ing the sea­son, how­ever he still stylishly won two group one races for Karen Walsh. There will also be new in­duc­tions in the NZ Greyhound Hall of Fame. Smart filly Queen Of The Air made a good im­pres­sion in her first trial ap­pear­ance at Avon­dale on Thurs­day. The daugh­ter of I Am In­vin­ci­ble was clearly the fastest of the ju­ve­niles on dis­play when the Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards- trained young­ster led all the way to cut out 600m in 35.56 un­der Opie Bos­son. “She’s a very pre­co­cious filly, a real two- year- old type and nom­i­nated for the Golden Slip­per,” Te Akau prin­ci­pal David El­lis said. High Cha­parral’s New Zealand- bred son Ecuador is ex­pected to ap­pre­ci­ate the dis­tance of today’s Ge­orge Main Stakes ( 1600m) at Rand­wick. “He’s go­ing re­ally well and 1600 me­tres is prob­a­bly get­ting up to his pre­ferred trip now,” co- trainer Adrian Bott said. Pre­mier­ship win­ning jockey Chris John­son pro­duced what can only be de­scribed as vin­tage Magic John­son rides to score a quar­tet of wins at Oa­maru yes­ter­day. Two of those vic­to­ries helped trainers John and Karen Parsons score a tre­ble of vic­to­ries on the pro­gramme. The trainers had Mia Mamma and Lets­brin­gi­ton fit and ready to win for John­son de­spite a lack of re­cent rac­ing.

Pic­ture / Grant Peters

Cho­cante will be ex­pected to go close in the A$ 150,000 Kingston Town Stakes at Rand­wick today.

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