WINX was unsurprisingly the headline act at Flemington on Saturday, extending her winning record with one of her most remarkable victories to date.
Here’s our take on the day’s action as the race to the big Spring Carnival features stepped up to a new level.
RACE REPLAY: Winx comes from a challenging spot at the back of the pack to win the Turnbull Stakes. Making it 28 straight wins & 21 Group 1 wins. @cwallerracing @flemingtonvrc // #winxhorse #gowinx // Vision @Racing pic.twitter.com/nJ6JVuJj18
— Winx (Official) (@winx_horse) October 6, 2018
The incredible WINX made it 28 straight victories with perhaps her best victory to date in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes. On overall times and margin there have been more impressive wins from the great mare. But never has she comes from so far back, caught in traffic off such a slow tempo, as detailed by form guru Daniel O’Sullivan. Many were quick to criticise Hugh Bowman (after an early shocker – see below) but in reality, the others ‘played jockeys’ to trap him in a near impossible position. Bowman’s nerves of steel and Winx’s extraordinary talent ensured she won by a length on the line. It was simply spectacular.
To put some context around the speed shape in The Turnbull… Winx ran first 800m in 50.82s / last 800m in 43.98s. That’s a 41 length difference! Her last 600m 32.21s and last 200m an unbelievable 10.87s. Lack of speed and her position made it impossible for her to be dominant.
— Daniel O’Sullivan (@TRBHorseRacing) October 6, 2018
Hugh Bowman was already skating on thin ice with punters well before the Turnbull courtesy of his ride on favourite Ranier in Race 2 (we were on as well, as per the weekend preview). Despite jumping well and settling handy, the colt found himself shuffled back and bolting on the turn. Bowman followed the eventual winner into the straight but was unable to find clear running until the final 100m, when Ranier began striding at two-to-their-one before missing out by a nose. Predictably, Twitter was sent into meltdown.
WATCH: The stewards’ vision of Race 2 from Flemington. Ranier didn’t see daylight until late. pic.twitter.com/kpaBYDJM1K
— Racing.com (@Racing) October 6, 2018
Ranier backers seemingly all loaded up on Godolphin stablemate Savatiano in the last, hoping to ‘get out’ at the end of a tough day. The mare had been well backed early and again late before enjoying a gun run throughout. But at the 600m punters began to sense the déjà vu. Try as he may, Kerrin McEvoy was unable to find a split until the bird had flown. In a cruel twist of fate it was Invincibella, ridden by none other than Hugh Bowman, who raced away with the prize.
— Racing.com (@Racing) October 6, 2018
MELBOURNE CUP FAVOURITE
Many were left pondering if Avilius’ elevation to $9 Melbourne Cup favouritism was justified after a narrow victory in The Bart Cummings. Godolphin’s positive storyline from the day, the French import survived a flimsy protest from second-placed Jaameh to record his fourth consecutive victory since arriving from France. He’s now exempt from the ballot for the first Tuesday in November, but the strength of his form appears the biggest sticking point for punters.
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) October 6, 2018
Get used to overreactions in racing but how is Avilius the Melb Cup fave? Had the race run to suit, landed in the A1 spot and only just won a race of questionable form. Plus the 3200m is a huge query, especially for a horse who looks to have short sprint 🤷♂️
— Brad Thompson (@BradThompson83) October 7, 2018
I’m Avilius’ biggest fan but $9 favourite for a Melbourne Cup? Has to be an overreaction
— brad davidson (@braddavo) October 6, 2018
I wouldn’t fall for the fact Avilius didn’t look to run through the line yesterday. I fell for that early in it’s prep. Glyn has pulled it up a stride past the post in every run this prep
— princerubiton (@princerubiton) October 7, 2018
Winx’s performance was all the talk after the Turnbull but savvy punters also took note of the performance of stablemate Waller stablemate Youngstar. The Queensland Oaks winner’s enormous second-place run saw her elevated to Caulfield Cup favouritism ahead of third-placed Kings Will Dream. The mare ran Winx to a length and just 0.75L separated the minor place-getters, but it was the way she stormed away from the Darren Weir gelding late which left those with a trained eye salivating to back her over 2400m. Bookies reacted by halving her quote from $13 to $6 for the Caulfield Cup, while Kings Will Dream blew the other way. Check out the Turnbull Stakes replay video at the top of the page (YoungStar is in blue silks with Red Cap).
AND IN SYDNEY …
Godolphin’s pain wasn’t confined to Flemington as Aramayo, smashed from $9.00 to $4.40, was overrun in the dying stages by Maid In Heaven in the Spring Champion. The result provided jockey Rachel King and trainer Mark Newnham with their first Group 1 success. Equally impressive was Brisbane-trained Sesar, who flew home along the rail to win the Group 1 Roman Consul.
MAID OF HEAVEN beats the boys with jockey Rachel King in the G1 @MoetUSA Spring Champion! 🏇🇦🇺
— Sky Racing World (@SkyRacingWorld) October 6, 2018
Have you heard of The Everest? Not the one Sir Edmund Hillary first conquered in 1953, which became the title of a 2015 film. We mean the one which has saturated Sydney’s mainstream media for the past month, soon to be beamed on the side of the Opera House and run at Randwick this Saturday for $13 million.
You have to hand it to Racing NSW – The Everest is one of the greatest marketing initiatives of recent years. It is even dominating conversation in Victoria, dwarfing the build up to Caulfield Guineas day.
For what it is worth, we are big fans of Shoals.