Chris Waller’s flying mare Winx looks primed to secure her seventh Group 1 success drawing ideally in barrier six for the George Main Stakes 2016 at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
After missing a run in the Chelmsford Stakes due to a wet track, the Street Cry five-year-old runs second-up this weekend in the $500,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) – registered as the Colgate Optic White Stakes.
She vies for eleventh win on the trot after a cruisy 3.5 length victory first-up in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and has regular rider Hugh Bowman continuing his association on Saturday.
Bowman rode the Waller-trained Shoot Out (2012) to victory it the George Main Stakes four years ago.
Waller has gone on to win a further two editions of the weight-for-age classic going back-to-back for the past two years with Sacred Falls (2014) and Kermadec (2015).
Winx, who rounds out her Sydney Spring Racing Carnival campaign this weekend before heading south to defend her Cox Plate title, has scared away the bulk of potential George Main Stakes rivals.
The race, running as Randwick Race 6 at 3:15pm (AEST) on Saturday, features a final field of just eight hopefuls.
Winx gets in on 57kg under the WFA conditions and is out to become the first mare since Streama (2013), who also jumped from barrier six, to beat home the boys.
Waller has accepted for two other stablemates in the George Main Stakes field chasing the trifecta with French import Spiritjim in gate eight with Brenton Avdulla aboard and Vanbrugh in barrier three for jockey Glyn Schofield.
Winner of the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) last spring, the now five-year-old Vanbrugh comes off a first-up fifth to Winx in the Warwick Stakes from August 20.
Schofield stays aboard and is after his third George Main Stakes successful following winning rides on the Anthony Cummings-trained Road To Rock (2009) and Kermadec (2015) 12 months ago.
Likely second favourite in George Main Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au behind the odds-on favourite Winx however is the John O’Shea-trained Hauraki in gate five.
O’Shea won the race a decade ago with Racing To Win (2006) and looks for the upset this season with his smart Reset five-year-old to be ridden by James McDonald.
McDonald has partnered Haruaki for his five most recent runs including two Group 1 seconds firstly to The United States at Rosehill in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in March and then to Our Ivanhowe in Brisbane’s Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in May.
Hauraki came up against Winx running third to her back in February in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), and comes off a win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) from September 3.
He is after the Tramway Stakes – George Main Stakes double last achieved by Sincero (2011).
Tramway Stakes runner-up Le Romain is also accepted for a rematch in the George Main Stakes, trainer Kris Lees likely opting for the small Group 1 field in Sydney over a Friday run at Newcastle in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap.
Winner of the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) over the George Main Stakes track / distance back in March, Hard Spun gelding Le Romain is three runs into his four-year-old prep and has run second in both lead-ups.
He will relish getting up over 1600m for the first time since the Randwick Guineas success and has a strong Randwick track record of two wins and three seconds from five runs to date.
Darren Weir meanwhile saddles-up Japanese import Tosen Stardom from barrier seven, Craig Williams taking over for John Allen in the saddle of the Deep Impact stallion who comes off a Melbourne fourth in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) a fortnight ago.
The George Main line-up is completed by O’Shea’s other runner It’s Somewhat in gate four and the Stuart Webb-trained Great Esteem coming off a Caulfield win in the Listed Heatherlie Handicap.
Check out the full George Main Stakes 2016 field and barrier draw below before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to check out their exclusive promotion on the race (excluding NSW players).
2016 George Main Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 6 (3:15pm) – 17/09/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x0x51709x4||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||7||59kg||111|
|2||8x332722x1||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||James McDonald||5||59kg||109|
|3||3x611653x4||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||Tim Clark||4||59kg||108|
|4||447204x77x||SPIRITJIM (FR)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||8||59kg||107|
|5||5400070711||GREAT ESTEEM||Stuart Webb||Kerrin McEvoy||2||59kg||97|
|6||2x12217x22||LE ROMAIN||Kris Lees||Christian Reith||1||58.5kg||108|
|7||111x0649x5||VANBRUGH||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||3||58.5kg||99|
|8||111x1111x1||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||6||57kg||123|