Australia’s champion racehorse Winx will look to extend her winning streak to 12 on the trot when she lines-up for her final Cox Plate tune-up in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes 2016 this weekend.
Just seven nominations were received by Racing Victoria on Monday for this year’s $600,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m), the inclusion of Chris Waller’s superstar mare Winx scaring off the bulk of potential runners.
The weight-for-age classic was won 12 months ago by Criterion who went on to place third in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) next start.
Winx will tackle the Caulfield Stakes on Saturday and then head to Moonee Valley on October 22 to defend her title in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Already in pre-field Caulfield Stakes betting at the race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au, Waller’s flying daughter of Street Cry is odds-on at $1.30 to get the job done on Caulfield Guineas Day on Saturday.
She was last seen beating home Hauraki in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) in Sydney on September 17, and that form was franked last weekend when the runner-up returned to win the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in an outstanding last-to-first effort.
Winx now chases a double last achieved by the mighty Lonhro (2003) who won his second Caulfield Stakes on the back of a George Main win in Sydney for Hall of Famer John Hawkes.
The main danger to stop the Winx onslaught in futures Caulfield Stakes odds is Black Heart Bart ($4) for Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir.
An ultra-consistent Blackfriars six-year-old, Black Heart Bart has run top two in his nine most recent races including his 2.5 length victory at the track in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) a fortnight back.
The Underwood Stakes – Caulfield Stakes double was last achieved by Ocean Park (2012), while Atlantic Jewel won the latter on the back of a second in the Underwood the following year.
Kris Lees’ Underwood Stakes third placed mare Lucia Valentina is also nominated for a run against Winx this weekend, the Savabeel six-year-old having crossed fourth to her first-up in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on August 20.
The extra metres this weekend will suit Lees’ Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner who has an outstanding record over the distance (8-4-1-1).
Robert Hickmott won the race two years back with Fawkner (2014) and is back in 2016 with two entries: Ranvet Stakes winning Galileo seven-year-old The United States coming off a first-up sixth on September 3 in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and Gallante.
Gallante is an imported son of Montjeu who won the autumn’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), and he comes off a resuming Caulfield run from September 17 behind Jameka in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m).
Rounding out the nominees are the Matt Laurie-trained Escado and Lindsay Park’s Underwood Stakes third placegetter He Or She who also holds a nomination for Saturday’s Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
See below for the full Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes 2016 nominations, the field and barriers due for release on Wednesday.
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2016 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 08/10/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|2||8915x41x43||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||M||6||Kris Lees||2||57kg||114|
|3||x21212x121||BLACK HEART BART||G||6||Darren Weir||3||59kg||116|
|4||0069x031x2||GALLANTE (IRE)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||4||59kg||108|
|5||610x5212x6||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||H||7||Robert Hickmott||5||59kg||111|
|7||5x2018x732||HE OR SHE||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||7||59kg||107|