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Sydney’s premiership leading jockey Brenton Avdulla admits the only way he and Hartnell will be beating Winx in the 2017 Chipping Norton Stakes is if the mare has an extremely rare “off day”.
Chris Waller’s nine-time Group 1 winning daughter of Street Cry hasn’t been defeated since April of 2015 and it has been a long time since she let down the punters.
This weekend at Royal Randwick the dual Cox Plate champion is out to extend her incredible winning streak to 15 on the trot.
She will jump odds-on favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au in the $600,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) defending her title in the race.
She won last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and is at a current $1.10 price in all-in Chipping Norton Stakes odds, making her the shortest-priced favourite in the weight-for-age feature in over 50 years.
First-up Winx defeated Hartnell without even being tested in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m), which was the fifth time John O’Shea’s import came up against the world’s best racehorse.
A dual Group 1 winner, Authorized six-year-old Hartnell would no doubt have bagged a couple more elite level victories if not for Winx.
“Hartnell is obviously the second-best middle-distance horse in the country behind Winx,” Avdulla conceded speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“He is a superstar in his own right. He is a dual Group 1 winner.
“But he hasn’t beaten her in five meetings and ran three seconds.
“If it wasn’t for her, he would have another couple of Group 1s.
“He is a serious horse. It is an honour to be trusted with the ride on him by Godolphin.”
He’ll be out of contention again most likely in the Chipping Norton Stakes, despite a jockey change.
Avdulla comes aboard the classy Godolphin galloper for the first time in the place of injured rider James Doyle.
He is excited about the ride too and the prospect of being up closer to Winx than he is usually accustomed to.
“Usually I’m on one of Waller’s stayers that are out the back and can’t keep up,” he said.
“They are just getting further and further away from me.
“I will be a bit closer to her this time, how close I don’t know, but I will be in the action.”
As for the chances of scoring an upset Chipping Norton Stakes result? Not unless something were off with Winx.
“I will be riding him to his best advantage, not trying to just beat her,” he said.
“If we do that, he will be finding the line. I probably need to hope she has a bad day, which she has not had for a long time.”
The closest Avdulla has come to getting the better of the history-making Winx was last April when he rode Happy Clapper into second in the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
“I thought I was home until I saw her flash out the pack at the furlong and knew I was in trouble,” Avdulla said of the run.
“We have seen it plenty of times. There is so much to like about her.
“I just like the way she jumps, she relaxes, she drops her head and when [Hugh] Bowman gives her a shake she goes into overdrive.
“She has that sustained speed for as long as he wants, it seems. She is just a superstar.”
The Doncaster Mile result was one of Winx’s best as she carted 56.5kg to victory, giving six kilos to Happy Clapper (50.5kg).
Whether you are camp Winx or chasing the value with an upset on Hartnell, get the best Chipping Norton Stakes 2017 odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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