Young gun out to challenge Winx
THANK God for Sydney’s star young brown stallion, Kementari. What started as a simple record-breaking exhibition gallop for the untouchable Winx, now has a little subplot.
Bar unforeseen horror luck, the world’s top galloper — not to mention the best managed and nursed in history — has only one horse her way ahead of the showpiece Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick tomorrow — four-year-old Kementari, last season’s supreme colt and a second-up beast suited at the trip, has arrived to give us some sort of contest, least on paper, although well disadvantaged at WFA against this mighty mare.
The rest are not within three postcodes, most preparing for longer journeys over the spring.
Okay, the writing for a 26th straight win eclipsing Black Caviar’s phenomenal streak was probably already on the wall after Winx’s super second trial when she finished that well Hughie almost needed an emergency “handbrake” to stop her crashing into others through the line.
But outside of Kementari, where are middle distance runners? Is it a bigger claim to try and run second to the great one, or avoid her altogether?
Kementari’s luckless return behind Pierata in the Group 2 Missile (1200m) a fortnight back, running his last 600m in 33.68 secs despite being held up at the 350m, was top class, and we know he trains on big early in prep.
And initially, I believed Kementari could shake the life out of Winx’s momentous day, but I’ve relented.
Surging past $19 million in stakes, Winx has probably never had a more measured and precise build-up for spring Hughie reckons she’s never trialled better. To think $3.40 was about her being undefeated in four runs this campaign. Grab it now, the reality is barely $2.40.
But if you have to mount an argument, remember the Group 1 George Ryder (1500m) on Mar 24. In a sit-and-sprint, Winx — coming off a whirlwind 7-len return win in the Group 1 Chipping Norrton — typically sat back trailing Kementari who was Happy Clapper sat in the “breeze” on a modest tempo.
Winx was forced to go wide earlier, but aided by the rider’s much-criticised decision to stay in on Kementari; while the “Clapper” naturally fought on hard and Kementari got rolling late to really hit the line.
So the tactic against Winx is simple. Stack ‘em, pack ‘em and rack ‘em. The longer they “button” off, the it will take Winx to put them to the sword. Kementari must race further forward, steal a midrace breather and then sprint like the powers of you know what before they hit the turn.
The other big “watch” over the final 400m is four-yearold staying star and Rosehill Guineas winner D’argento. He’ll be smashing the line and is my early tip to win what might a weak Caulfield Cup in October.
My WINX STAKES Tips: 1. WINX; 2. Kementari; 3. Daylight, then D’argento.
AWAY from Winx, a hot little edition of the Group 2 Silver Shadow (1100m) at Set Weights awaits three-yearold Fillies. Melbourne raider and Group 1 Golden Slipper
Sires’ produce runnerup Oohood; Group 3 Widden Stakes winner Fiesta; Listed Fernhill Futooh and boom QLD backmarker MM placegetter Outback Barbie all resume off some very slick work at the trials.
This will be a fillies’ platform, especially looking ahead to the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) on Sept 22, Flight Stakes a week later and Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on Oct. 13.
With the Rail out a significant 7m, I’m leaning to Outback Barbie who gets the lovely camp behind a good speed and launches late, while fellow big closer Fiesta is the danger.
My Early Value Selects RANDWICK:
Race 1 1. CISCO BAY (E/W)**Expect: $5.50 — $6.00 My Early Rating: $3.60
Race 3 3. BROOK MAGIC**Expect: $4.60 — $4.75 My Early Rating: $3.10 Race 4 4. OUTBACK BARBIE**Expect: $4.50 — $4.75 My Rating: $3.20
Race 4 1. FIESTA*Expect: $4.25 — $4.65 My Rating: $3.45
AND in a terrific return of the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence (1400m) at Caulfield tomorrow, I’ll be launching into four-year-old stallion star on the rise and Group 1 Australian Guineas winner Grunt ($6.00) who has been working brilliantly ahead of his return.
Star four-year-old Kementari chasing champion mare Winx in the George Ryder Stakes.