Chris Waller’s historical Cox Plate winner Winx is back to the track on Saturday in Sydney’s Apollo Stakes 2016 and leading the betting on the Royal Randwick feature race as the deserving odds-on favourite.
Eleven hopefuls face off in Randwick Race 7 – the $250,000 Group 2 Optus Business Apollo Stakes (1400m) – this weekend and all the attention in the Ladbrokes.com.au markets is on Street Cry four-year-old Winx.
This superstar hasn’t lost since her ATC Oaks second to Gust Of Wind back in April last year, going on to win her past five starts on the trot including three Group 1 classics.
Most recent she was seen backing up from an Epsom Handicap win in Sydney to beat home a class field in Melbourne’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last October.
She gets the rails run first-up on Saturday with Hugh Bowman aboard on the back of a couple of quiet trials and sits at the top of the Apollo Stakes odds paying a short $1.50 to keep the magic going.
From that draw she’ll need luck and there’s no guarantees in racing.
Just two of her rivals are also under $10 in the latest Apollo Stakes betting markets including another daughter of Street Cry, Gerald Ryan’s five-year-old Solicit ($5.50).
Jumping from a nice barrier four draw with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle, Solicit is second-up on Saturday after failing to sprint home with the emphatic winner Our Boy Malachi in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on January 30.
Still she crossed a brave second, will be fitter for the run, goes well second-up and is suited to the extra metres.
The last of the single-figure hopes drawn the outside barrier (11) is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Shamardal six-year-old Dibayani ($9).
Yet to race at Randwick, the import is also yet to post a win down under.
He started racing in Melbourne last August and ran third in two Group 2 races over 1400m and 1600m respectively before a ninth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Group 3 Coongy Handicap (2000m).
A recent Randwick trial win over 1050m has the bookies paying attention and taking no chances on the likely improver.
Outside of Winx and Solicit there’s plenty of value to be had in the Apollo Stakes exotics this year.
The next best in betting are early market mover Leebaz ($15) for Team Hawkes who chases his first win since the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) in Queensland last April and Peter Robl’s recent Magic Millions Trophy placegetter Centre Pivot ($17).
The real value however lies further down the markets with the John O’Shea-trained stablemates Hauraki ($31) and Magic Hurricane ($26) both overs.
Reset four-year-old Hauraki gets a gun run beside Winx in barrier two and has form at the track including his Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) second last autumn, while James McDonald’s mount Magic Hurricane has the class having won the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) here last campaign.
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