Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
The season’s top Group 1 winning horseman Chris Waller has confirmed plans to target his record-breaking Cox Plate winner Winx for Sydney’s richest race this coming autumn – the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2016.
Held during April at Royal Randwick, the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) is on the agenda next time in for Waller’s classy Street Cry mare who hit the record books with her 4.75 length win in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley this October.
The victory was the four-year-old’s third from as many starts this time and came on the back of an also impressive 2.3 length success in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney the run before.
To date Winx has triumphed nine times in 15 starts amassing over $3.6 million in prize money for connections, a figure Waller is out to add to when she returns to racing in the autumn.
Her long term assignment is a title defence in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship next Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival where she will out to become the first back-to-back Cox Plate winner since So You Think (2009-10).
Before then however she will be given the chance to add more elite level success to her record during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival at home and already looks on track to do so having returned to light work this week.
“It’s the first time’s had a good spell,” Waller told Racing Victoria this week.
“Basically she did it all of last year in one hit – I think she had a couple of two-week spells in between and raced basically at every carnival – and fortunately her last run was her best run, being the Cox Plate.
“She had a six-week break and she’s back in training now.
“It’s still obviously very early days, but she looks fine and we’re expecting big things from her in the autumn and then it will all be geared towards the spring again, to hopefully defend her title in next year’s Cox Plate.”
Winning her opening two career starts in June of 2014, Winx first stepped up to Group company for that year’s Furious Stakes that she won over the Randwick mile last September in a Heavy (9) track.
Her maiden Group 1 test came two runs later when she crossed second to First Seal in the Flight Stakes (1600m).
She was also runner-up to Gust Of Wind in this year’s Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) over the mile and a half before breaking her Group 1 duck with success at Doomben in late May’s Queensland Oaks (2200m).
Now a triple Group 1 winner, Winx’s exact autumn plans haven’t been mapped out although Waller is 100% confident of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes as the major aim on April 9.
“She’ll do all her racing in Sydney at this stage, it’ll be a three or four-run preparation finishing up in the Queen Elizabeth, which is obviously Sydney’s comparable race to a Cox Plate – or that’s the way it’s trying to head – and being a $4 million race it’s a logical target,” Waller said.
Waller has prepared two previous Queen Elizabeth Stakes winners with My Kingdom Of Fife (2011) scoring at 12/1 and Reliable Man taking it out at 11/1 in 2013.
Futures Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for next year is already out and Winx is the $6 all-in favourite followed by the defending champion Criterion ($9) who next races in the Hong Kong Cup on December 13.
2016 Cox Plate odds are also open and Winx is again top of the markets at $8 with Criterion occupying the second line of betting at a juicer $16, the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained $7.19 million earner having run second in this year’s edition.
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