The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The opening Group 1 race of the new season resulted in a massive boilover with the Bjorn Baker-trained Samadoubt saluting at big odds to defeat grand old campaigner Happy Clapper in the Winx Stakes 2019.
There were a host of returning Group 1 stars in the 10-horse Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) field at Royal Randwick giving Not A Single Doubt six-year-old Samadoubt the underdog status.
The chestnut won first-up over 1100m last November at Canterbury against much easier company but was a $34 roughie come jump to win fresh again in the Winx Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Baker had a sneaking suspicion his Canberra Cup winner could run a cheeky race however after Samadoubt blitzed a 1000m Group & Listed Trial at Rosehill on August 5 winning by over six lengths.
“He’s been a good horse,” Cummings said after the win.
“He’s been a great ride for the owners up and down. We’ve done plenty of work with him.
“It’s good. Good to be here.
“It’s hard to get too confident…he won at 1100m first-up last preparation with the blinkers on. He’s a quick horse this bloke.
“We’ll have a good night no doubt.
“I’ve had a great run with them [Darby syndicators].
“I thought he was in good order today but this race it’s always hard to be confident.”
The galloper was fit and forward enough for the stable to opt for the tough Group 1 assignment after being nominated for a number of potential races to kick-off his Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
It proved a winning move with jockey Tim Clark riding the roughie hope to a gutsy all-the-way win having taken Samadoubt straight to the lead.
The Winx Stakes winner had to do it at both ends, going out hard early and then responding when the pressure was put on him late to draw away again in a peach of a ride from Clark.
“He gave a great kick, it’s very exciting to win the first Group 1 of the season,” Clark said.
“It’s really awesome.
“He was an underdog obviously and you know in two or three runs time over further, these horses are going to get the better of him.
“But at this point of his preparation, over the 1400m fresh, it just looked the right race to have a crack at with him.
“He’s a tough on-pacer. We expected to be able to lead and dictate and from the 600 [metres].
“I was keen to let him rip and get them chasing and it paid off.
“He was great there today at weight-for-age and it was a good effort by Bjorn to get him ready first-up.”
On the line Samadoubt celebrated a half-length victory over Pat Webster’s always-honest nine-year-old Happy Clapper ($5.50) who was gallant in defeat again.
“Courageous horse, he gave me everything but the winner just caught us all napping a bit,” Happy Clapper’s hoop Hugh Bowman, who had ridden the past four Warwick Stakes / Winx Stakes winners including the race’s namesake Winx for her three-peat, said.
The Kris Lees-trained mare Invincible Gem ($14) backing-up off her narrow second behind Alizee in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) added even more value to the Winx Stakes trifecta finishing third.
“Huge run. She’s not far away from getting a Group I,” was the post-race prediction from Invincible Gem’s hoop Rachel King.
The well-backed favourite was the Godolphin-raced Cox Plate-bound Avilius ($2.60) who ran a strong fourth.
The Ranvet Stakes – Tancred Stakes double winner was under a length beaten running on late having been eight lengths from the lead on the turn in a good return ahead of the longer-distanced features.
“Great return. He’s finished off very well,” jockey Kerrin McEvoy said.
2019 Winx Stakes Results: Finishing Order
|1||6||SAMADOUBT||Bjorn Baker||Tim Clark||–||4||59kg||$31|
|2||2||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Hugh Bowman||0.5L||5||59kg||$5.50|
|3||7||INVINCIBLE GEM||Kris Lees||Ms Rachel King||0.8L||1||57kg||$14|
|4||1||AVILIUS (GB)||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||0.9L||8||59kg||$2.60F|
|5||5||KINGS WILL DREAM (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||1.7L||2||59kg||$17|
|6||8||UNFORGOTTEN||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||1.9L||7||57kg||$12|
|7||4||BEST OF DAYS (GB)||James Cummings||Nash Rawiller||2.1L||6||59kg||$9.50|
|8||9||YOUNGSTAR||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||3.6L||10||57kg||$91|
|9||10||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||3.8L||3||56.5kg||$5|
|10||3||LE ROMAIN||Kris Lees||Glen Boss||4.6L||9||59kg||$21|
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