Winx to steal the show in bonanza Waller weekend
Champion Winx leads trainer Chris Waller's assault on Australia's biggest day of Group 1 racing at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Winx will be racing for her 32nd consecutive win in the $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m), a Group 1 race the mighty mare as won easily the last three years. She is already at $1.10 with TAB Fixed Odds to continue her famous winning streak.
But there are another four Group 1 races on the program and in a demonstration of the Waller stable's deep equine talent pool he has leading chances in every major.
Waller's crack juvenile Yes Yes Yes is the early $5 favourite for the $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper (1200).
Super colt The Autumn Sun, rated by many as the heir apparent to stablemate Winx as the nation's best racehorse, is chasing a fifth Group 1 win from just nine in the $600,000 Rosehill Guineas. He is rated the $1.50 favourite in early betting.
Nature Strip, one of the fastest horses in training, will be right at the top of betting for the $700,000 The Galaxy Stakes (1100m) as will Unforgotten in the $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
It's a formidable team for Waller on Golden Slipper Day but Winx, as always, is the scene-stealer.
Winx had a solo exhibition gallop between races at Rosehill last Saturday. Waller spent a couple of minutes studying her after the workout before telling the media the mare is "thriving" ahead of the George Ryder, the penultimate race of her celebrated career.
"I was just looking for anything being wrong but she is great,'' Waller said.
"With Winx, we know the acceleration is there, we know she's come back very well, and I'm just making sure she's safe and set for another couple of runs.
"It's one run at a time still but obviously we know the Queen Elizabeth is there."
Waller flirted with the idea of starting Winx in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) but confirmed the mare will attempt a fourth consecutive George Ryder Stakes.
The Golden Slipper meeting could boast the two highest stakes earners in Australian racing history on Saturday.
Winx has amassed an all-time record of $23,429,675 while dual Everest winner Redzel has earned $15,491,000.
Redzel, trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, is likely to clash with Nature Strip in The Galaxy.
Sydney's big wet in recent days certainly kept crowd numbers down at the Coolmore Classic meeting last Saturday with less than 7,000 coming through the turnstiles at Rosehill.
But the Australian Turf Club is expecting a bumper crowd on Golden Slipper Day with around 25,000 likely for Winx's final race start on her home track at Rosehill.
As an added bonus, Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes will perform live at the Golden Slipper meeting.
The concert is included in the general admission ticket price with Barnes taking to the stage after the last race.
BIG DAY FOR GODOLPHIN
Godolphin trainer James Cummings could have six starters in the $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday - but arguably his best two-year-old won't be in the race.
The Cummings-trained Tassort, the long-time Slipper favourite, has been spelled due to a hoof problem but five of his stablemates Tenley, Exhilarates, Pin Sec, Microphone and Kiamichi are in the elite 16-horse field for the world's richest juvenile race.
Athiri , a close third to Kiamichi in the Magic Night Stakes last Saturday, pulled up with the thumps and Cummings will decide today if they will pay the $150,000 late entry fee into the Golden Slipper.
There could potentially be two late entries into the Golden Slipper with Blue Diamond minor placegetter Free Of Debt expected to be paid up for a start in the big race.
This would leave boom Melbourne filly Loving Gaby as 17th in order of entry and in danger of missing a start.
Cummings is also expected to accept with Bivouac and Amercement but those youngsters are likely to be only emergencies.
Godolphin has nearly half the Golden Slipper field as it also races the Anthony Freedman-trained Blue Diamond winner Lyre.
Trainers Peter and Paul Snowden will have at least three Sipper runners after Cosmic Force scored the most spectacular win by a juvenile this season when he romped home more than seven lengths clear of his rivals in the Pago Pago Stakes last Saturday.
Cosmic Force joins stablemates Anaheed and Catch Me in the Slipper field with the Snowden's not giving up hope in getting either McLaren or Rome into the big race.
Peter Snowden said Cosmic Force had come through Saturday's race in good order and should have no problem backing up in the Golden Slipper.
"Cosmic Force has pulled up pretty good, it was a devastating win but he has come through it very well,'' Snowden said.
"Of all our two-year-olds he was the one going the right way the quickest, he has improved so much every start.''
Snowden said Cosmic Force didn't have a hard run in the Pago Pago and with the likelihood of a wet track for the Golden Slipper, the colt is looming as one of the main chances.
"Cosmic Force has form on wet and dry, it's a huge plus, and he would be our best chance,'' the trainer said.
"But if we get another bog track for the Golden Slipper, Anaheed comes right into it as well.
"Catch Me won a barrier trial on a soft track last week and I'm not worried about the track conditions for her either.
"Her trial was good, the way she accelerated from the back of the pack was impressive.''
GOLDEN SLIPPER ORDER OF ENTRY
1 Yes Yes Yes C Waller B Shinn
2 Microphone J Cummings H Bowman
3 Tenley J Cummings J McDonald
4 Time To Reign G Portelli J Collett
5 Anaheed P and P Snowden T Clark
6 Cosmic Force P and P Snowden M Zahra
7 Kiamichi J Cummings ….
8 Lyre A Freedman L Currie
9 Lankan Star D and B Hayes, T Dabernig ….
#10 Free Of Debt C Bieg D Dunn
11 Pin Sec J Cummings T Berry
12 Catch Me P and P Snowden C Brown
#13 Athiri J Cummings …
14 Dubious C Maher and D Eustace M Walker
15 Vincere Volare T Gollan S Clipperton
16 Exhilarates J Cummings K McEvoy
17 Loving Gaby C Maher and D Eustace D Lane
18 McLaren P and P Snowden ….
19 Bivouac J Cummings ….
20 Amercement J Cummings …
21 Rome P and P Snowden ….