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Any punters hoping Australia’s wonder mare Winx would ease out in her price to secure win number 20 on the trot have been shut down, with the superstar drawing barrier one for Saturday’s George Main Stakes 2017 field.
The six-year-old daughter of Street Cry gets the chance at a baker’s dozen of elite level wins when she defends her title in Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m).
Run as the Colgate Optic White Stakes, the weight-for-age mile clash is scheduled as Randwick Race 6 at 3:15pm (AEST) and Winx will face eight rivals as she looks to continue the fairy tale.
A winner of over $13 million in prize money, Winx is heading towards a shot at a third Ladbrokes Cox Plate victory at Moonee Valley at the end of October.
She comes off two narrow victories at Randwick and should be fit and firing this weekend third-up at a track and distance she is more than comfortable over (7-6-1-0).
Hugh Bowman continues his association with the champion and when successful, Winx will hand Waller his fifth win in the race in the past six years.
Waller dominates the George Main Stakes field both with Winx and numbers-wise having accepted for five runners in total.
His other key chance is four-year-old Foxwedge mare Foxplay in barrier three with Brenton Avdulla to ride.
First-up the smart grey was up front in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on August 19.
Foxplay looked to have the win in the bag at her first start since taking out the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 8, until Winx made up for her tardy start and chased down her stablemate in a gutsy win.
That last-to-first effort took nothing out of Winx who backed-up to win the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), again doing the chasing to rundown Red Excitement who was ridden in brazen up-front style by Joshua Parr.
Foxplay however needed more of a rest to recover from the Warwick Stakes, but is back heading towards a potential Cox Plate clash with Winx via the George Main Stakes.
Waller’s other George Main Stakes hopefuls are McCreery, Mackintosh and the in-form Tom Melbourne coming off a second in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
Both McCreery and Tom Melbourne are also accepted for the Group 3 $150,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) earlier on the card, with a decision to be made on which horse will represent the stable in the Group 1 later in the week.
Tramway Stakes winner Happy Clapper is another key rival for Winx on Saturday, the Patrick Webster-trained Teofilo seven-year-old facing the mare for the fifth time.
The dual Doncaster Mile runner-up last faced her in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) when fifth during the autumn, but he’s a gun miler and could be finishing closer over the 1600m on the weekend.
Other notable contenders include Chelmsford Stakes runner-up Red Excitement and eight-year-old Ecuador for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott.
Check out the official George Main Stakes 2017 field, barriers and jockeys below before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au for the best Winx odds on the weekend’s major.
2017 George Main Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 6 (3:15pm) – 16/09/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||469x2125x1||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Blake Shinn||8||59kg||113|
|2||x113380x34||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||5||59kg||110|
|3||3311255×42||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan||Joshua Parr||4||59kg||110|
|4||2x156495x8||MCCREERY (GB)||Chris Waller||Michael Walker||9||59kg||106|
|5||x13540x0x6||MACKINTOSH (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||2||59kg||103|
|6||23x6905x22||TOM MELBOURNE (IRE)||Chris Waller||TBA||7||59kg||103|
|7||11x1111x11||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1||57kg||132|
|8||1670x910x5||HEAVENS ABOVE||Tim Martin||Tye Angland||6||57kg||108|
|9||14x24141x2||FOXPLAY||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||3||56.5kg||112|
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