Mosheen made it two on end for the girls in 2012 and since then just twelve fillies have gone to post, an average of two a year. Placegetters at 20-1, 16-1 and 8-1 in that time suggest that the girls have been running up to or even beyond expectations in that time.
There is plenty expected of the fairer sex today with the top two on Timeform weight adjusted ratings in the early betting being classy fillies Mystic Journey and Amphitrite – and there is a struck match between the pair at the best.
The Tasmanian filly Mystic Journey has prepped up with a win over the top older horse in Tasmania, Hellova Street. That’s a good piece of form, and she let down with a dynamic sprint to win from a near hopeless spot first up over a trip well short of her best. It’s her form on the mainland that interests most, however, with wins at Caulfield and Moonee Valley in the spring both strong on the clock and both with the run of the race having gone against her.
She sat wide on a rapid tempo over the mile on Cox Plate Day and was still much the best in the run home, hammering Fundamentalist who had only been narrowly beaten by Amphitrite two weeks prior on the Thousand Guineas. To add merit to the win, Mystic Journey was having her first try at the mile and arrives there over a month between runs. She conceded plenty of favours to Fundamentalist and gave her a thrashing – the performance sits high in the memory heading into Saturday.
Mystic Journey will be ready to reach her Timeform peak rating today coming into the race third up.
Amphitrite did a great job herself in beating Fundamentalist in that Guineas and she was without luck in the Myer against the older mares. Her return in the Vanity was smooth success and sets her up as a terrific chance. And if she is a great chance then Verry Elleegant who chased her home there must be as well. She has her quirks but that she has been so successful in spite of them shows that she has an extremely good motor.
There were good runs for the future in the CS Hayes but the boys were largely disappointing in that key Guineas lead-up with the Autumn Stakes won by Hawkshot preferred as a guide to the Guineas.
Hawkshot is another with his quirks but he was let run there and he responded with a high-rating performance from the front. It’s going to be tougher here up to the mile and drawn to work early, but he must be respected, as must the two that closed behind him there, Dealmaker and Ringerdingding.
Dealmaker looks a good chance at odds having shown talent in the spring before a setback left him looking shy of match practice in the Spring Champion and the Vase.
He arrives at Flemington on Saturday third up and with a good base – we get a chance to see what he has to offer and it should see him somewhere around the business end.
Ringerdingding spiraled upwards in the back half of the spring, and while his transfer from Darren Weir at the start of this campaign has left things looking a little rushed, he did power home in the Group 1 Futurity last week and his closing splits there suggest that he has retained all of his ability from the spring and is on track to perform to his best on Saturday with the return to the spaces of Flemington a big tick for the son of Sebring.
A capacity field faces the starter in this Saturday's Group 1 Surround Stakes with 14 set to line up over the 1400m journey.
Only two lengths separated the first six across the line in the Group 2 Light Fingers [1200m] with eight coming through the traditional lead up.
Inglis Sprint winner Fiesta brings different form along with Fundamentalist who finished third behind Amphitrite in the Group 3 Vanity [1400m].
Of those that contested the Light Fingers, Pohutukawa and Nakeeta Jane were the two to take out of the race, with the former the key runner on Saturday.
An impressive winner at Flemington on Cup Day, Pohutukawa proceeded to take a good step forward, when an unlucky third behind Nakeeta Jane in her return, but she will need to improve again this afternoon – something that is easily predictable off her current form cycle.
Not at her best over 1200m, Pohutukawa really caught the eye late when she arguably should have won.
Only Winx went faster on the day with Pohutukawa running the fastest 800m and second fastest 600m, 400m and 200m of the meeting.
She is expected to relish the step up to 1400m and has drawn to receive all the favours for James McDonald.
Not a great deal separates these fillies, however if she can springboard off that first up run, she is sure to take plenty of beating.
Nakeeta Jane beat home Pohutukawa and obviously has to be respected as she has the right form already on the form sheet.
She came a very long way in her maiden preparation and much like Pohutukawa she returned in a big way.
The step up to 1400m is ideal and she too has drawn to get a lovely run.
She was only a head away from being a Group 1 winner at her third start (Flight Stakes) and judging by her first up effort, she is set for a big Autumn campaign.
The Chris Waller trained Fiesta was too strong late for Estijaab first up and looms as a major threat with Bowman linking back aboard.
Not sure it is the ideal set up (jumping from 1100m to 1400m), but on the bare form she has to be respected.
The wide draw suggests she's likely to get a long way back, however she should be very strong late.
Of the rest the Kris Lees trained Miss Fabulass appears the next in line.
Admittedly disappointing in the Light Fingers, she should relish the step up to 1400m and remains under strong notice on best form.
She was the run of the race in the Flight Stakes prior to a break and she did SP $3.70 in the Light Fingers.
Chipping Norton Stakes
Star mare Winx will face just six rivals in her bid to stretch her winning streak to 31 in Saturday's Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes.
Yet to taste defeat since May 2015, Winx will attempt to win a world record 23 Group 1s on Saturday.
She will also join Tie The Knot as the only four-time winner of the Chipping Norton Stakes and with all things being equal, it should be a walk in the park for the champ.
Scary to think in her final preparation she is in as good a form as ever, but she is – as evidenced by her 126 Timeform rating when resuming.
Her first up win in the Apollo Stakes was as impressive as it looked and while Happy Clapper will again try gamely, he should be no match.
In their nine meetings, Happy Clapper has finished second to Winx on four occasions, three of which at Group 1 level.
He has proven quite the sparring partner over the years and Saturday's run should top him off nicely for the All Star Mile on March 16.
All the superlatives have been used to describe this great mare so all that is left is to enjoy what could be her second last appearance at Royal Randwick.