The Ron Quinton-trained Royal Celebration is one...
The highly-anticipated return of champion mare Winx takes place at Royal Randwick this weekend with the Chris Waller-trained star dominating the Apollo Stakes 2017 nominations.
The daughter of Street Cry shoots for her 14th consecutive turf triumph when she runs first-up in the $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
It will be the dual Cox Plate winning five-year-old’s first run outside of a Group 1 field since she won the Group 2 Warwick Stakes first-up at the same track (Randwick) and distance (1400m) last August.
All of the stats work in the $9.3 million earner’s favour including Winx’s five-from-six first-up record and her outstanding form at Randwick (11-7-3-0) and at 1400m (5-3-1-0).
She has trialled twice leading up to her Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival kick-off for two third with regular rider Hugh Bowman aboard, and he will be there again as she looks to continue her magic run in the Apollo Stakes.
Despite the presence of Winx in the race, there were a total of 17 Apollo Stakes nominations taken by Racing NSW on Monday.
Winx is the pre-field odds-on favourite in Apollo Stakes betting through Ladbrokes.com.au at $1.25 and the only other single-figure hope at $9 is Divine Prophet.
Team Hawkes’ Caulfield Guineas winning colt is also nominated for a Melbourne run in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) first-up on Saturday.
He is the only three-year-old nominated for the 2017 CF Orr Stakes, which kicks off Group 1 racing for the season, but there are two others in the Apollo Stakes mix.
Along with Divine Prophet the other three-year-olds a chance to take on the country’s best horse are dual Group 1 winning filly Global Glamour and Lasqueti Spirit for Lee Curtis.
Global Glamour won the Flight Stakes – Thousand Guineas double over a mile in the spring and has had two summer runs for a first-up ninth in Brisbane and a second in the Gold Coast’s Magic Millions 3YO Guineas in mid-January.
The Star Witness filly was beaten only a quarter-length in a blanket Magic Millions Guineas result, and is also nominated for Saturday’s Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) for a run against her own kind on Apollo Stakes Day.
Lasqueti Spirit meanwhile hasn’t raced since November during last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington when the daughter of Beneteau won the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m).
Waller meanwhile has a very dominant presence in the Apollo Stakes nominations this season.
Along with the sure-to-be winner Winx he has five other entries including Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal and runner-up in the two mile April classic last autumn Libran, the stayers gearing up for longer distance runs later this prep.
Other notable hopes likely running for second at best in the Apollo Stakes include Waller’s imported stallion Endless Drama making his debut down under and Winx’s regular rival Hartnell.
Hartnell last encountered the Winx wrath for his Cox Plate second at Moonee Valley in October, after which the John O’Shea-trained Godolphin champ ran third in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
See below for the latest Apollo Stakes 2017 nominations, the final field and barriers along with updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au set for release on Wednesday.
2017 Apollo Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 11/02/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|2||4249×23292||DIBAYANI (IRE)||G||7||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||107|
|3||5x13x1421x||DIVINE PROPHET||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||104|
|4||22x3915x0x||ENDLESS DRAMA (IRE)||H||5||Chris Waller||103|
|5||1x3611x92||GLOBAL GLAMOUR||F||3||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||106|
|6||33x726910x||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||G||7||Chris Waller||109|
|7||x5x211123x||HARTNELL (GB)||G||6||John O’Shea||118|
|8||1211x1110x||HE’S OUR ROKKII (NZ)||G||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||108|
|9||3x6538241x||LASQUETI SPIRIT||F||3||Lee Curtis||100|
|10||36x561019x||LEEBAZ (NZ)||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||110|
|11||x6x341112x||LIBRAN (IRE)||G||6||Chris Waller||108|
|12||7966x5340x||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||G||7||John O’Shea||105|
|13||4110x4540x||PREFERMENT (NZ)||H||5||Chris Waller||115|
|14||13x882140x||SACRED MASTER (NZ)||G||5||Chris Waller||103|
|15||463877031x||SAVVY NATURE (NZ)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||90|
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