Co-owner Debbie Kepitis believes barrier 11 could be a “lucky” draw for the Chris Waller-trained superstar Winx in Saturday’s 2016 Doncaster Mile at Randwick Racecourse.
Kepitis, daughter of Bob Ingham, races the four-year-old daughter of Street Cry with a group of friends and has an enormous amount of faith in the mare, her owner and jockey Hugh Bowman heading into the $3 million Group 1 The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m).
In the Doncaster Winx, a winner of her past eight starts including five Group 1 victories to take her prize money up over $4.75 million, will start from barrier 11 of 15.
The gate hasn’t produced a winner since Sprint By (1996), but Kepitis hopes it proves luckier for the short-priced favourite.
“My mother was born on the 11th of the 11th so that could be lucky,” she told AAP after Tuesday morning’s Doncaster Mile barrier draw.
“We can’t help the barrier.
“It’s a big test for her but Chris has an affinity with the Doncaster and as owners we follow the genius that he is.
“It has been an amazing experience and even though I’ve had a lot of good horses with my family, this is an experience that is mine.”
A winner of four of her eight Randwick runs to date, and second in a further three starts at the track, Winx was last seen beating home stablemate Kermadec by one and a half lengths in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
The last two Doncaster Mile winners came off George Ryder runs with Sacred Falls (4th) in 2014 and Kermadec (3rd) 12 months ago.
Sacred Falls also won in 2013 giving Waller three straight wins for an overall record of five Doncaster Mile victories.
His other champions were Triple Honour (2008) and Rangirangdoo (2010).
Bowman meanwhile is yet to ride a Doncaster champion, but he has lovely affinity with Winx and will continue his association this weekend.
“We have faith in Hugh. He has ridden her perfectly every time,” Kepitis said.
The hoop has ridden her five times on the trot and is the only jockey to guide her to victory at elite level in the saddle for her wins in the 2015 Queensland Oaks, 2015 Epsom Handicap, 2015 Cox Plate, 2016 Chipping Norton Stakes and the George Ryder on March 19.
The last mare to beat home the boys in the Doncaster Mile was More Joyous (2012), 12 months on from the success of the Joe Pride-trained Sacred Choice (2011).
Favourites meanwhile have saluted for the punters just once since 2007, and Winx is certainly the clear top fancy for this year’s edition sitting top of the current Doncaster Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $1.85 for the win.
She is followed in Doncaster Mile betting by Kermadec ($7) who jumps from barrier three with Zac Purton aboard.
No other runner is at single-figure to stop Waller’s George Ryder Stakes quinella from going one-two again, but the next best in betting are Azkadellia ($12) and Happy Clapper ($12).
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