Winx to go on? Owners shut down hype
Winx continues to defy the ageing process recording the fastest 1400m of her remarkable career in her comeback Apollo Stakes win at Royal Randwick last Saturday.
The champion mare stopped the clock at 1m 20.88s, a new race record and the first time she has gone under 1m 21s for 1400m in nine attempts.
This was another very easy win for Winx. She glided past old rival Happy Clapper to win by a widening margin without being put under any undue pressure by jockey Hugh Bowman - yet she has still run brilliant time.
Winx might be a rising eight-year-old but on the evidence of this win, she seems to be going as well as ever.
This has prompted suggestions Winx could race on for another season and still be a dominant force but trainer Chris Waller and owner Peter Tighe shut down that debate by confirming the great mare will be retired at the end of her autumn campaign.
Winx's 30th consecutive win in the Apollo Stakes was the cause for celebration for the mare's legion of fans but for Waller and Tighe it was more relief.
Both men spoke about the pressure connections have been under since Winx's Cox Plate win last year, debating whether to retire the champion or give her one final campaign.
The decision to give Winx a farewell Sydney autumn preparation has been vindicated by her stunning return to racing last Saturday.
Waller said Winx had pulled up in great order after the race and was enjoying an "ice bath" to help her recovery. She will aim for a 23rd Group 1 win when she races next in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on March 2.
Tighe confirmed Winx will be retired at the end of her autumn campaign to begin the next phase of her life as a broodmare.
Waller reiterated it is one race at a time for Winx this campaign but it is likely the great mare will have three more starts, culminating in the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 13.
BOOKIES HAPPY TO SEE BACK OF WINX
The bookies are probably the only people who can't wait for Winx's race career to end.
Winx has become a far more profitable investment than relying on bank interest even when she is at odds of $1.10 like she was for the Apollo Stakes.
Some punters were betting in telephone numbers on Winx leading into last Saturday's race leaving TAB Fixed Odds with a monster payout of $2,297,485.
IF SHE RACES, THEY WILL COME
Winx can attract a crowd, with 15,330 at Royal Randwick to watch her extend her famous streak.
The Australian Turf Club would be satisfied with the overall attendance even though the members did not turn out in numbers.
COREY IN A GROUP OF HIS OWN
Corey Brown rode his 48th career Group 1 winner with In Her Time's courageous Lightning Stakes win at Flemington.
The champion jockey's record compares with some of the all-time greats and there are only three active Australian-based riders with more Group 1 success - Damien Oliver, Hugh Bowman and Kerrin McEvoy.
In Her Time, trained by Newcastle's Kris Lees, deserved her major after a number of near-misses in the last 12 months.
The Lightning result again underlined the strength of The Everest form with the winner, runner-up (Osborne Bulls) and fourth placegetter (Graff) all racing well in the world's richest turf race won again by Redzel last spring.
WALLER'S NEW SUPERSTAR READY TO SHINE
The Autumn Sun, the colt many regard as the heir apparent to Winx as the nation's best racehorse, is due to resume racing in the Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill Gardens next Saturday.
The winner of the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas last spring earned mixed reviews with his unplaced effort in a barrier trial last week.
But jockey Kerrin McEvoy and trainer Chris Waller remain upbeat about the colt's chances when he resumes over 1400m in the Hobartville.
McEvoy said The Autumn Sun was simply outsprinted by the speedsters in last week's trial but was adamant the three-year-old is going well in preparation for his return to racing.
At trackwork last week, Waller said of The Autumn Sun: "In my mind he has come back better."
"He's a stronger horse, more mature, and his attitude is great. I know when you push the button on race day it (acceleration) will be there.''
The Autumn Sun's likely opponents will include the promising Lees-trained colt, Gem Song, an impressive first-up winner of the Eskimo Prince Stakes earlier this month.
SLIPPER FAVOURITE TO PUSH THE BUTTON
Godolphin's boom juvenile Tassort is set to resume racing in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill.
Tassort, trained by James Cummings, has been the Golden Slipper favourite since his very impressive debut win in the Golden Gift last spring.
Tassort is attempting to emulate Pierro (2012) and She Will Reign (2017), both winners of the Silver Slipper-Golden Slipper double this decade.
Among Tassort's Silver Slipper rivals on Saturday will be Time To Reign, the half-brother of She Will Reign, and the promising McLaren.
RON DUFFICY'S RANDWICK SNAPSHOT
RUN OF THE DAY
Forgetting the champ Winx - who owns the run of the day every time she competes - it was the performance of Nakeeta Jane that made everyone stand up and take notice. Nakeeta Jane did a fantastic job in only three runs during her debut preparation and her winning return was awesome.
FORGET THEY RAN
Plenty of forgive runs on the day but you have to forget Brutal's first defeat. He was on the back foot at the start and therace didn't pan out as expected from there on in. Brutal is sure to shape up to the best of his age over the autumn up to a mile.
THE BLACK BOOK
While it's fair to say Nakeeta Jane was the star of the show in the Light Fingers the other filly who put her hand up was Pohutukawa who really caught the eye after losing momentum at a vital stage in the straight.
RIDE OF THE DAY
Josh Parr's opportunities are hampered by weight restrictions but his two winning rides late in the day on Nakeeta Jane and Penske were absolute pearlers. His form at the moment is top class.
RACING NSW - THE WEEK AHEAD
Today: Newcastle, Ballina
Wednesday: Randwick Kensington
Friday: Canterbury (night), Scone
Saturday: Rosehill Gardens, Gosford, Albury, Gunnedah
Sunday: Hawkesbury, Coffs Harbour