Freakish Winx shades Hartnell heroics
At Ruakaka the programme is likely to start off with a Logan and Gibbs winner
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.
Chocante will be expected to go close in the A$ 150,000 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick today.