Jockey James McDonald pilots Gongs (royal blue silks) to victory in the Australian Turf Club Handicap at Warwick Farm.
Jockey James McDonald pilots Gongs (royal blue silks) to victory in the Australian Turf Club Handicap at Warwick Farm.

By George, Winx has done it again

Champion mare Winx's runaway George Main Stakes win has elevated the Randwick weight-for-age race to a nation's best ranking as Sydney's spring carnival produced three of the top four races run so far this season.

The handicapper ratings - which are universally accepted as the official measure of a race's quality - has Winx's four-lengths George Main Stakes romp over Le Romain returning a lofty 121.5 figure.

This ranks the Randwick 1600m weight-for-age race slightly above the 121.3 figure given to the Cox Plate, also won by Winx.

The Everest, won for the second successive year by Redzel, is maintaining it's ranking as the nation's main sprint.

Redzel's win resulted in an Everest rating of 120.5, just ahead of the Premiere Stakeson 120.3, giving Sydney three of the top four major races held since August 1.

These ratings can only strengthen the case for The Everest and Premiere Stakes to be elevated to Group 1 level.

 

Hugh Bowman and Winx combine to win the Group 1 George Main Stakes in September.
Hugh Bowman and Winx combine to win the Group 1 George Main Stakes in September.

 

The Everest, the world's richest turf race with prizemoney of $14 million (up $1 million) for 2019, has only been run twice but last year was the world's equal top-rated sprint and it will go close to retaining that ranking for 2018, bringing into question the Victorian bloc's opposition to giving the race Group 1 status.

Similarly, Santa Ana Lane's course-record breaking win in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes continues the race's emergence as one of the nation's best sprints and enhances claims to elevate it to Group 1 level.

 

Winx returns to scale after winning the George Main Stakes.
Winx returns to scale after winning the George Main Stakes.

 

Sydney's two Randwick 1200m races rated higher than Melbourne's best sprints, the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (also won by Santa Ana Lane) on 119.5, Manikato Stakes (Brave Smash) on 116 and Moir Stakes (Viddora) on 114.5.

Winx's awesome presence elevates the ratings of every race she contests. The great mare won her four races during spring and they rate among the nation's top eight races so far this season.

Her Turnbull Stakes win at Flemington was rated seventh at 118.8 while the race named in her honour, the Winx (formerly Warwick) Stakes is next on 118.5.

The Caulfield Cup won by Godolphin's Best Solution was rated equal 14th on 115.8 while the Melbourne Cup, won by another of Godolphin's international stayers Cross Current, is 20th on 114.8.

 

Winx wins a fourth Cox Plate. Picture Jay Town
Winx wins a fourth Cox Plate. Picture Jay Town

 

THE GREATEST SHOW ON TURF

Chris Waller's announcement that Winx will have one final race campaign next autumn gives the great mare an opportunity to extend her extraordinary 29-race winning streak - and race fans an opportunity to say goodbye to arguably the greatest of all-time.

The Australian Turf Club is planning some major promotions to celebrate each of Winx's races during the autumn.

She is expected to resume in the Apollo Stakes on February 16 and have up to four starts culminating in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes during The Championships in April.

Winx is a rising eight-year-old but time hasn't caught her yet. She won her seven starts during 2018, all at Group 1 level.

She was clearly the nation's most dominant big-race performer for the calendar year with Trapeze Shoals and Santa Ana Lane both winning three Group 1 races since January.

Waller trained the winners of 17 Group 1 races for the year with his main rival, Darren Weir winning 13 major races.

Winx's jockey, Hugh Bowman, rode 11 Group 1 winners for 2018, well ahead of nearest rivals Kerrin McEvoy and Damian Lane on five wins apiece.

 

OWNING A CRUCIAL COMPONENT

Racing Australia has announced the launch of myhorseracing.horse the new online portal for racehorse owners.

Frances Neslon, the Racing Australia chair, said the myhorseracing.horse site "provides racehorse owners with a safe, convenient and unique ID to enable them to conduct their transactions online to save time and avoid the need to re-enter information provided previously.''

"From late January active racehorse owners across Australia will over a 4-6 week period be asked to validate their myhorseracing.horse accounts,'' she said.

"As soon as their account is validated owners will be able to see their horse's details online, including nominations, acceptances, scratchings and results. When fully operational in April 2019, myhorseracing.horse will be an online 'one stop shop' to enable racehorse owners to conduct transactions online.''

The Racing Australia innovation will be a welcome one for owners because even something as straightforward as naming a horse involved paperwork which could require contacting up to 20 owners, a process that could be lengthy and confusing.

"When myhorseracing.horse is fully operational owners will be able to provide the information needed, submit applications with a single mouse click, and instantly receive confirmation the application has been lodged,'' Nelson said.

 

Jockey Jess Taylor rides Girls Are Ready to victory on Saturday.
Jockey Jess Taylor rides Girls Are Ready to victory on Saturday.

 

JESS TO JOIN GIRLS ON THE COAST

Trainer Joe Cleary ended speculation about a likely jockey for promising filly Girls Are Ready in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast next month, confirming Jess Taylor will retain the ride.

Taylor has ridden Girls Are Ready in each of her three starts, producing faultless efforts to win on the filly at Canterbury and Warwick Farm.

 

UNITED FRONT FOR MM ASSAULT

Unite And Conquer, the early Magic Millions favourite, and stablemate Czarson have crucial barrier trials at Warwick Farm on Thursday.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained youngsters, who are both unbeaten in two starts, will not race again before the Magic Millions.

 

ALIZEE A REAL CHRISTMAS SURPRISE

Alizee, the dual Group 1 winner of nearly $1.5 million, will add her considerable presence to the final Saturday meeting of the year when she resumes in the Listed Christmas Classic at Royal Randwick.

Trainer James Cummings said Alizee has done everything right in preparation for her return after a bleeding attack meant she could not race during the spring.

Randwick also hosts the traditional Group 3 $160,000 Summer Cup (2000m) on Boxing Day where Sydney's premier trainer Chris Waller has six of the 12 starters including early favourite My Nordic Hero.

 

TRIBUTE TO HUGHES AT THE RACES

Cricket and racing fans will pause to remember former Australian Test opener Phillip Hughes at the Bowraville races on Boxing Day.

The Nambucca River Jockey Club will feature the Macksville Ex-Services Club Phillip Hughes Memorial Flying at the Bowraville meeting. Hughes was born in Macksville and was a regular at the Bowraville races.

The trophy for the race is a mounted cricket bat emblazoned with 63 not out - Hughes's final score before he was struck by a lethal bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game at the SCG four years ago.

I would like to wish readers of this column a very Merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year.

 

Jockey James McDonald returns to scale after riding Gongs to victory.
Jockey James McDonald returns to scale after riding Gongs to victory.

 

 

WARWICK FARM SNAPSHOT WITH RAY THOMAS

RUN OF THE DAY

Monsieur Sisu did plenty wrong but still found a way to win. The chestnut is lightly raced and very much a work in progress for trainer Paul Cave but this gelding has obvious, emerging talent.

FORGET THEY RAN

Kapajack wasn't comfortable in the heavy going and was trapped wide throughout so his effort to finish a close fifth was still full of merit. Definitely worth another chance on a firm track.

THE BLACK BOOK

Hemmerle is ready to win next start. He had shoulder his way into the clear from the top of the straight then had to try and match it with Moobi who was full of momentum in the sprint to the finish. The promising Moobi won narrowly but Hemmerle lost no admirers with his narrow loss.

RIDE OF THE DAY

James McDonald is in sensational form, following his treble at Randwick's Kensington meeting on Friday with a Warwick Farm double. His winning rides on Naval Warfare and Gongs were tactically brilliant.

NSW RACING - THE WEEK AHEAD

Monday: Wagga

Tuesday: Christmas Day (no racing)

Wednesday: Royal Randwick, Newcastle, Ballina

Thursday: Coffs Harbour

Friday: Gosford

Saturday: Royal Randwick, Scone, Lismore

Sunday: Orange, Corowa