The 2016 Ladbrokes Stakes field will run on Saturday with just three starters as Winx has scared off all but two rivals for the Caulfield Guineas Day feature.
Running as Caulfield Race 6 at 3:15pm (AEDT), this year’s $600,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m), formerly the Caulfield Stakes, features a diminutive line-up of three runners dominated by the Chris Waller-trained Winx.
The five-year-old daughter of Street Cry is out to continue her Black Caviar-like winning streak with a 12th victory on the trot from barrier three with Hugh Bowman aboard.
She travels south for the first time since her Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) win at Moonee Valley last October, a race she has her final tune-up for this weekend.
Saturday will be the $7.13 million earner’s first start at the Caulfield track, but after her all-too-easy Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) win in a canter on September 17 at Randwick she should have no issues this weekend.
Waller ran her around the course proper at Caulfield on Wednesday morning and her good gallop combined with the small field has her trainer confident.
“It makes it easier in terms of interference, there is always an element of luck involved with racing but it will be a quality field,” he told Racing Victoria before the official acceptances closed.
“The horses that are there deserve to be, it shouldn’t really affect her though, pace wise, fast or slow she is adaptable so I’m not too concerned.”
Winx jumped $1.08 in betting last time out and currently pay $1.14 in the Ladbrokes Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Of the two other acceptors from the original seven nominations the other best backed in the Ladbrokes Stakes odds is the Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart ($5.50) with the inside run from barrier one.
Brad Rawiller rides the six-year-old son of Blackfriars who chases his fourth elite level success after taking his Group 1 tally to three in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) on September 24.
Black Heart Bart boasts the Caulfield track advantage over Winx having won all three of his previous starts at the course, two in Group 1 company.
His Underwood win by 2.5 lengths saw him stretch out over further than a mile for the first time, and after having no issues with the distance he is up in metres again on Saturday tracking towards another run against Winx in the Cox Plate on October 22.
Runner-up in the Underwood Stakes last time out, the Lindsay Park-trained He Or She rounds out the Ladbrokes Stakes field and markets on the weekend paying $31 to score the upset.
A six-year-old son of Kendel Star, He Or She also still officially holds a nomination for the $300,000 Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on Sunday.
He is racing for an $180,000 first prize in the Cranbourne Cup, but will only collect $54,000 to run third in the Ladbrokes Stakes trifecta on Saturday.
Craig Williams sticks aboard the galloper who ran third to Palentino in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) in his other latest start as He Or She steps out over 2000m for the first time on Guineas Day.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig, who now train in partnership with Hayes’ son Ben, won the Caulfield Stakes 12 months ago with Criterion (2015), while Williams chases his maiden win in the feature.
See below for the official Ladbrokes Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and latest Fixed Win odds provided by the race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.