Chris Waller’s returning Cox Plate winner Winx is the headline nomination taken for the Apollo Stakes 2016 this Saturday at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.
Twelve months ago Contributer took out the $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) ahead of his elite level Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival victories in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
This year the Apollo Stakes nominations attracted a total of 16 weight-for-age hopefuls, five of which come from the leading Sydney stables of Waller.
Waller’s big name entry is superstar Street Cry mare Winx, the four-year-old to have her first run since her runaway four and three quarter length win in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last October.
She boasts an excellent Randwick record of two wins and three seconds from six starts and flies fresh having lost just one of her four previous first-up runs heading into the Apollo Stakes.
Also first-up for Waller are his five-time Group 1 winner Boban, last year’s Sydney Cup champion Grand Marshall, last start Sandown Classic winner Who Shot Thebarman and Press Statement.
The baby of the bunch, Hinchinbrook three-year-old Press Statement was last seen winning the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) over the mile last October.
He has won five of his seven career starts to date, but is yet to run at Randwick with all of his Sydney form being at Rosehill Gardens including the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) success last September.
While his best form is over the 1600m, a distance he also won Brisbane’s Group 1 JJ Atkins over as a two-year-old last winter, he has won over 1400m before so first-up the distance might suit.
Following Waller’s imposing contingent another top rated Apollo Stakes nominee is the John O’Shea-trained Magic Hurricane.
The six-year-old import has a strong Randwick record of two wins and a second from four runs at the track he is first-up on this Saturday racing for the first time since his two length win in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) from the spring.
The stayer has winning 1400m form however and is another that could show-up over the distance in his opening run of the season.
Godolphin and O’Shea are also represented by Reset four-year-old Hauraki whose last run was a Caulfield Cup eighth, the ATC Derby runner-up from last April boasting a 50% win rate over the 1400m.
Team Hawkes have also nominated for two gallopers with Zabeel gelding Leebaz, whose last run was a sixth in the Bendigo Cup (2400m) but who won a Rosehill trial in the wet over 905m at the start of the month, and Perth’s Group 1 Railway Stakes runner-up from November Messene.
Gai Waterhouse has just the one entry for the Apollo Stakes this year with her O’Reilly mare Bohemian Lily out to improve on her Victoria Derby Day 10th in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
She is another recent trial winner having taken out a 1250m hit-out at Randwick on January 29, the four-year-old shooting for her maiden win since Doomben’s Group 2 The Roses (2020m) in May last year that she won by four lengths.
The fitness edge meanwhile belongs to the likes of the Peter Robl-trained Centre Pivot who ran third in the Gold Coast Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) on January 9 and the Joe Pride-trained Tiger Tees.
The veteran of the field, eight-year-old Dubawi gelding Tiger Tees comes off a fourth to Our Boy Malachi in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill from January 30.
He hasn’t won since August of 2014 however when beating home the since-retired Royal Descent in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on a Heavy Randwick track.
See below for the full Apollo Stakes 2016 nominations then head to Ladbrokes.com.au and gear up for the weekend’s racing action by opening a new account and quoting the code BETBONUS to enjoy up to $500 in bonuses!
2016 Apollo Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 13/02/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|2||21x692330x||BOHEMIAN LILY (NZ)||M||4||Gai Waterhouse||98|
|3||1x711x6013||CENTRE PIVOT||G||5||Peter Robl||102|
|4||52x0x3399x||DIBAYANI (IRE)||G||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||105|
|5||31x075003x||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||G||6||Chris Waller||106|
|6||141x98046x||GUST OF WIND (NZ)||M||4||John Sargent||105|
|8||210x09936x||LEEBAZ (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||104|
|9||55x143121x||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||G||6||John O’Shea||107|
|10||9x5383482x||MESSENE||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||107|
|11||111x2511x||PRESS STATEMENT||C||3||Chris Waller||109|
|12||1x400x0x65||RIVER LAD||G||8||Kris Lees||107|
|14||2x80x568x4||TIGER TEES (NZ)||G||8||Joseph Pride||107|
|15||42x758701x||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||G||7||Chris Waller||110|