Chris Waller welcomes back to racing this Saturday his Cox Plate winning mare Winx who leads the Apollo Stakes 2016 field at Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Set to run as Randwick Race 7 at 4:25pm (AEDT), this season’s $250,000 Group 2 Optus Business Apollo Stakes (1400m) features a final field of 11 weight-for-age hopefuls.
Sure to be favourite in the Apollo Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au racing for the first time since her runaway win in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in Melbourne last October is Winx.
The four-year-old daughter of Street Cry was undefeated last time in winning all of her spring starts including the Epsom Handicap – Cox Plate interstate double.
Hugh Bowman retains the ride on the mare who boasts an outstanding Randwick track record (6-2-3-0) and who is drawn ideally on the rails with barrier one, the same gate she saluted from in the Cox Plate.
Waller has a total of three Apollo Stakes runners on Saturday with Winx joined by stablemates Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman who ran one-two in last autumn’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
Jason Collett rides returning import Grand Marshal whose last start was a good third to Almoonqith in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) in mid-November.
He will benefit from the run and improve when stepped up in distance after the Apollo.
It is the same for former Kiwi stayer Who Shot Thebarman whose minimum distance win is over a mile.
The Yamanin Vital seven-year-old’s last start was a Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) win on November 14 last year and he jumps from gate seven with Christian Reith aboard this weekend.
Another Group 1 winner first-up in the Apollo Stakes is the John O’Shea-trained Magic Hurricane whose last start produced an elite level Randwick win.
Last October the Hurricane Run gelding took out the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), his second win from four starts at the track he is first-up over this weekend.
O’Shea and the Godolphin stable have also accepted for Hauraki in gate two with Sam Clipperton booked to ride the returning Reset four-year-old.
Runner-up in last April’s Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m), Hauraki’s last start was an eighth to Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17.
He has a 50% strike rate over Saturday’s distance and is a genuine chance first-up over the 1400m.
Boasting the fitness edge meanwhile is the Gerald Ryan-trained Solicit in gate four with Kerrin McEvoy replacing Tye Angland in the saddle of the Street Cry mare.
Five-year-old Solicit won the Group 3 Summoned Stakes (1500m) at Sandown-Hillside to cap off her spring campaign before returning to run a distance second to runaway winner Our Boy Malachi first-up at Rosehill on January 30 in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m).
She is set to appreciate the step up to 1400m and has a strong second-up record of two wins and two seconds from six attempts previously.
Other notable Apollo Stakes runners this season include the Gai Waterhouse-trained O’Reilly mare Bohemian Lily coming off a trial win at the track over 1250m from late last month and John Sargent’s Caulfield Cup fourth placegetter Gust Of Wind who is best known for her 2015 ATC Oaks victory.
See below for the full Apollo Stakes 2016 field, barriers and jockeys before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to open a new account quoting the code BETBONUS to have your first deposit matched 100% up to $500!
2016 Apollo Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 7 (4:25pm) – 13/02/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||42x758701x||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Christian Reith||7||59kg||110|
|2||55x143121x||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||5||59kg||107|
|3||31x075003x||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||6||59kg||106|
|4||52x0x3399x||DIBAYANI (IRE)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Tye Angland||11||59kg||105|
|5||0212x0728x||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||2||59kg||104|
|6||210x09936x||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||8||59kg||104|
|7||1x711x6013||CENTRE PIVOT||Peter Robl||TBA||3||59kg||102|
|8||15211x111x||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1||57kg||116|
|9||141x98046x||GUST OF WIND (NZ)||John Sargent||Brenton Avdulla||10||57kg||105|
|10||x120x281x2||SOLICIT||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||4||57kg||104|
|11||21x692330x||BOHEMIAN LILY (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||9||57kg||98|