Winx again re-wrote the record books when posting her 30th straight win and in the process became the first horse to win three Apollo Stakes’, setting herself apart from dual Apollo Stakes winners Juggler (1996-97) and Sunline (2000-01).
It was business as normal for the mare who recorded the same rating on Saturday as she did when resuming last spring in her namesake event, the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m).
The program commenced in what is becoming common fashion, another Godolphin 2YO success courtesy of Tenley who now gives James Cummings seven of the first 26 runners in the Golden Slipper Order Of Entry.
After solid performances against the older horses, the training partnership now have the enviable task of keeping them apart through the carnival.
Race 1: Tenley - Pierro 2YO Plate (1100m)
$10 about the winner Tenley. That was about the only surprise when you consider how well Godolphin 2YO’s have been going in Sydney this season.
The daughter of Medaglia D’Oro settled back and showed great acceleration inside the furlong.
The grey produced a Timeform rating of 106. She’s improved out of sight on her debut win back in November. Perhaps due to a combination of added maturity and Blinkers being applied.
James Cummings has an army of youngsters poised for the Golden Slipper next month boasting seven of the first 26 in the Order Of Entry.
The scary thing about them for any upcoming rivals is how well educated and mature they are for two-year-olds. They’re all showing the ability to settle and run on.
It will be interesting to see how the stable go about managing their impressive two-year-old team. Will they spread them out across the Melbourne, Sydney and even Brisbane during the winter. Or, could they attempt to load all their bases with a half dozen runners in the Slipper?
Outside of the winner there could be some Sires/Champagne horses come out of the race.
Jonah and Rotator were the obvious ones. Also watch the replay for Icebath in eighth who had no luck whatsover. He’s by Sacred Falls so will relish a bit more ground and realistically, is likely a prep away.
Race 2: Fui San - Class 3 Highway Handicap (1800m)
Fui San been competitive in these Highway Handicaps for over a season now. This was his second victory in them.
The son of Authorized ran to a Timeform rating of 85. He’s officially graduated from Highway Handicaps now with that being his fourth career win.
There were a few hitting the line nicely behind him.
There is a Class 3 Set Weights Highway Handicap at Randwick in two weeks over the mile. It is the last Highway Handicap for about six weeks.
Don’t be surprised to see a couple of them drop back slightly in trip from 1800m to contest it.
Pontmain is an intriguing runner. At the very least he is one to watch at Highway Handicap level.
Race 3: Curata Princess - Benchmark 78 3YO+ Handicap (2400m)
Curata Princess gave Nowra trainers a Randwick race to race double following the Fui San victory. It was a good return to form for this girl who struggled on a Heavy track the start prior.
The daughter of Curata Storm produced a Timeform rating of 82. There honestly isn’t much on the calendar for her from here. She might need to drop back to the midweeks.
Gayatri in second was very one paced. She can certainly return to the winner’s circle fourth up though assuming they find the right race.
It was a pretty low key race, one of only two races on the day at Randwick which were run outside standard time. You would think form out of the event will largely be irrelevant through the remainder of the autumn carnival.
Race 4: You Make Me Smile - Benchmark 88 3YO+ Handicap (1300m)
You Make Me Smile led and led at a good clip. To kick like he did, Jason Coyle really has him flying.
The four-year-old is a big, strong, son of So You Think. He is going from strength to strength this prep.
Connections elected to geld him during the spring and we’re seeing the positive effects of that this summer in terms of him becoming a racehorse.
You Make Me Smile has produced three wins on end now. This one netted him a Timeform rating of 103. It suggests he can work further through the grades this prep.
Diplomatico resumed well. The Snitzel colt simply spotted the leader too much of a start however found the line nicely late.
Team Hawkes from here may elect to drops the colt back to his own age now. Personally, I’d like to see him run in the Canberra Guineas (1400m) in three weeks.
Race 5: Eckstein - Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m)
Eckstein is an extremely underrated mare. She is a multiple stakes winner and Group 1 placed.
In winning the Southern Cross Stakes she produced a Timeform rating of 108. She is the first mare to win this race since No Evidence Needed in 2012.
It was a strong display however still well below her best. That came when running second to Shoals in the 2017 Myer Classic.
She’ll be fitter for the run. The Guy Walter Stakes over 1400m in two weeks time looks a good second up option for her.
Brutal was good in third. It will be interesting to see how high they shoot with him this spring.
Team Hawkes had two nice three-year-olds run within 40 minutes of each other on Saturday, Diplomatico and Brutal. They stable now have the enviable problem of keeping them apart at their next starts.
Lanciato in fifth produced a good first up run. It’s worth noting they are keeping him to sprints this prep.
Expect the gelding to have longer term goals like the All Aged Stakes at the end of the autumn carnival. The Kingsford Smith Cup and Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane could also be possibilities.
Race 6: Winx - Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m)
The Queen is back and on Saturday it was once again a case of sitting back and enjoying the show! Winx settled midfield and cruised up to the early leaders approaching the furlong.
That cruise speed equated to a 10.75 furlong from the 400m to the 200m.
SHE DOES IT AGAIN! @Winx_horse makes history by becoming the first horse to win 3 Apollo Stakes'. The champion mare extends her winning streak to 30. Outstanding! @royalrandwick @cwallerracing pic.twitter.com/dy5WkFz8Of— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) February 16, 2019
As her rivals weakened, Winx quickened beautifully to put a space on them thereafter. While it looked effortless, the daughter of Street Cry clocked a final 600m of 33.02.
We’ve given the performance a Timeform rating of 126. It was the same figure we had her running to first up last prep in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m).
Saturday marked Winx’s 30th straight win, something which has been well publicised.
Following the success, she is now also the only horse to have won three Apollo Stakes’. She’d previously been one of three horses to have won two Apollo Stakes alongside Juggler and Sunline however has now pulled ahead of them.
Plenty were thrilled to see runner up Happy Clapper return like he did after a forgettable spring campaign. It was great to see him return like that and hopefully gets a run in the All Star Mile.
The Pat Webster-trained gelding has now placed behind Winx on five occasions now so any chance the son of Teofilo gets to move out of her shadow must be taken.
Egg Tart (3rd) and Unforgotten (5th) embarked on a paid barrier trial which netted them $22,700 and $6125 respectively. They were basically ridden hands and heels and will strip fitter for the run heading into the autumn.
Next for Winx is the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 2, a race which she has won for the past three seasons.
A victory next fortnight will see Winx equal Tie The Knot (1999-2002) who is the only horse to have won the Chipping Norton Stakes on four occasions.
Race 7: Nakeeta Jane - Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m)
Nakeeta Jane was the second of two winners on the card for So You Think.
The filly settled fourth on the fence however was still giving the leader Madam Rouge about three lengths at the 200m.
The Mark Newnham-trained three-year-old savaged the line the last furlong. She returned a Timeform rating of 110 which is right on the five year winning average of the event.
For a filly going to the Oaks, it was a rather ominous warning to her rivals.
Next on the agenda for Nakeeta Jane is the Surround Stakes. The last filly to claim the Light Fingers/Surround Stakes double was More Joyous back in 2010.
The Surround Stakes will be an interesting race. At this stage it possesses two key form lines.
Third placegetter Pohutakawa was huge a genuine head turner as she hit the line strongly in third.
Race 8: Alassio - Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m)
Tim Clark has won the race three times now with Faraway Town last year and popular mare Hot Danish back in 2008 providing his other successes.
In winning the Triscay Stakes, Alassio ran to a Timeform rating of 108. That figure comes in well above the five year average of the event and could potentially prove a strong renewal of the race moving forward.
Manicure, I Am Excited and Bella Martini were also stakes performed mares heading into Saturday.
There are a number of Group 2 & 3 fillies and mares sprints they can head to over the autumn.
Races like the Wenona Girl, the Birthday Card Stakes and the Sapphire Stakes to wrap up the carnival come to mind while Bella Martini could perhaps be a lightweight starter in a race such as the Coolmore Classic (1500m).
Race 9: Penske - Benchmark 88 3YO+ Handicap (1600m)
Penske went about delivering aace to race double for the Waterhouse-Bott stable. Like Alassio, the son of Sebring stalked the early leader and kicked well.
The five-year-old was strong through the line and ran to a Timeform rating of 108. He’s turning into a really tough, sprinter miler.
It will be interesting to see where he goes next. It might be worth running him as a lightweight hope in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) and plans for the remainder of the season can be determined thereafter.