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Equine superstar Winx had something to chase home in her opening two starts this time in and hoop Hugh Bowman expects a genuine pace again for the mare third-up in the 2017 George Main Stakes on Saturday.
Winx missed the kick in her resuming run of the spring, taking until the final bound to get over the top of stablemate Foxplay in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
The punters were given a fright, but not a big enough one to stop Chris Waller’s Hall of Fame six-year-old from starting odds-on again next-up in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) a fortnight ago.
Winx had the earmuffs on to help her get away evenly from the gates, but no one could have predicted the daring tactics employed by rival hoop Josh Parr who took the Gerald Ryan-trained Red Excitement out to a huge lead.
Bowman didn’t panic however and allowed Winx to wind up in her own time before her incredible sprint down the straight at Royal Randwick to get home a length ahead of the frantic pacesetter.
That took the daughter of Street Cry’s winning streak to 19 on the trot, an incredible feat she’ll look to extend this weekend defending her Group 1 $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) title.
Her closing sectionals last start were outstanding and the money is on her again in the George Main Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au to dominate proceedings and her rivals for a 13th Group 1 success, equalling the great Sunline.
Winx faces seven rivals in the race run as the Colgate Optic White Stakes and is at $1.09 to become the first back-to-back George Main Stakes winner since Kingston Town (1981-82).
Among the gallopers out to score the boilover of the century on Saturday is Red Excitement, the Excites eight-year-old paying $20 to go one better than in the Chelmsford Stakes.
While aware of the evergreen veteran’s presence in the race, Bowman doesn’t believe the pace will be quite as hot as last time out and will be looking to get Winx into a comfortable position just off the speed.
“I’d be surprised if Red Excitement went as fast as he did last time,” he told Racing Victoria this week.
“He may but I’d be surprised if he did. I presume Ecuador will go with Red Excitement. It will be up to one of those to lead.
“I expect a pretty genuine pace and I just need to be in the position so she can finish the race off as well as she can.”
Waller has won four of the past five editions of the George Main Stakes, while rival trainer Gai Waterhouse also has four victories in the race to her name.
She co-trains the other likely pacemaker Ecuador in partnership with Adrian Bott, and chases her first George Main Stakes success since the mighty mare More Joyous saluted for the punters in 2010.
Along with Red Excitement, High Chaparral gelding Ecuador is the other eight-year-old in the field looking to be the first of that age group to win in over 30 years.
Ecuador was third in the Warwick Stakes first-up and was last seen finishing fourth behind yet another George Main Stakes hopeful, the Pat Webster-trained Happy Clapper, a fortnight ago in Randwick’s Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
Think Winx is a sure thing to win the George Main Stakes 2017? Back her at the best spring racing odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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