The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller said he was taking no notice of talks the Godolphin-raced Hartnell could finally defeat his champion mare Winx when the duo face off for a sixth time in Saturday’s 2017 Chipping Norton Stakes.
Winx has held Hartnell’s measure in all five encounters to date, including her historic eight length annihilation when successful defending her Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) title at Moonee Valley in the spring.
She also looked barley puffed post her first-up win over the John O’Shea-trained import when the pair ran one-two in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
They get out over a mile second-up in the $600,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on the weekend.
Winx easily won the weight-for-age autumn showdown last season by one and a half lengths as the $1.30 favourite, while Hartnell crossed just under five lengths off her for fifth.
He came his closest yet to ending the reign of the Street Cry mare in the Apollo Stakes beaten two and three-quarter lengths, but suggesting he ever looked a winning chance is a stretch at best.
The latest Chipping Norton Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au reflect the history between these two.
Winx is at $1.12 making her the shortest-priced favourite in the race for over five decades, while Hartnell is the next best in Chipping Norton Stakes betting at $8.
All the money is on a win by the mare, who was put through her final hit-out on Thursday morning, and Waller had no concerns her perfect record over Hartnell would end on Saturday.
“I take no notice whatsoever,” he told AAP.
Winx equalled Phar Lap on 14 straight wins in the Apollo Stakes and with a fifteenth consecutive turf triumph on the horizon, she is out to join the greats Carbine and Bernborough.
Waller was pleased with his stable ace’s work on Thursday morning and also believes the Randwick track will handle any rain leading-up to the race, giving his mare every chance of success again.
“She’s going as well as ever, it’s hard to quantify how well she’s going,” he said.
“Obviously we saw her win well first up. You can’t really go better than breaking a track record in a Cox Plate almost 18 months ago and winning another Cox Plate by such a big margin.
“If it’s not rain there’s probably a bit of irrigation put on the track anyway.
“I think the tracks have improved in Sydney over the last six months, particularly the Randwick track.
“It gives me a bit more confidence that it can handle a bit of rain. It should be the perfect racing surface.”
To back Winx to continue her winning streak at Enhanced Chipping Norton Stakes odds of $1.14 head to Ladbrokes.com.au – (T&Cs apply / Max Bet $100).
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