The Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) highlights a strong Royal Randwick card tomorrow and is shaping as a particularly interesting betting race as punters continue to flock around champion mare Winx.
Winx opened at 2016 Chipping Norton Stakes odds of $1.45 with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au but has continued to cut though the last 24 hours to firm as clear $1.35 favourite and market mover ahead of Hartnell ($7).
Will Winx justify her clear favouritism and win the 2016 Chipping Norton Stakes or will one of her talented rivals find the line in the clear?
It would take a very brave punter to back any horse but Winx to win the 2016 Chipping Norton Stakes on Saturday, owing to the unbelievable feats the mare has posted through recent seasons. Capping a strong autumn and winter prep with a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) last May, the Street Cry mare resumed in spring for success in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) before jogging home to win the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) with ease at the beginning of October. Delivering an impressive field a resound defeat in the Cox Plate (2040m), Winx received an ideal tune-up when winning the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) first-up a fortnight ago and should prove far too good in the Chipping Norton on Saturday.
Dibayani ran on well for fourth in the Apollo Stakes firs-tup, is drawn well on the rails in the 2016 Chipping Norton Stakes and should relish a step up to a mile. Placed multiple times at Group 1 level through an impressive stint in Hong Kong, the Shamardal gelding debuted in Australia for consecutive third-place finishes in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) but failed to fire in either of his next two starts. David Hayes and Tom Dabernig have been pleased with the benefit taken by the import, who will be partnered by Blake Shinn in the Chipping Norton Stakes.
Hartnell ran an agonizingly-close second in his Australian debut in last year’s Chipping Norton Stakes and will leave from barrier 7 on Saturday. Hartnell is a proven Autumn Carnival performer and progressed to wins in each of the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 The BMW (2400m) before placing fourth in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in 2015. Having produced a number of typically strong efforts through the Spring Carnival, Hartnell is clearly the highest rated Godolphin runner of three entrants, having been confirmed to be partnered by leading hoop James McDonald.
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