Nine races will be won and run at Royal Randwick on 2019 Apollo Stakes Day but understandably, all the attention is firmly set on the return of equine superstar Winx.
The world’s best racehorse has not been seen competitively since she recorded her record fourth-consecutive Cox Plate win in October but looks ready to make it thirty wins in a row in the Apollo Stakes after trialling well.
The card will officially begin at 12:50pm AEDT, however the Apollo Stakes is set to run at 3:50pm.
Twelve juveniles will step out in the Pierro Plate and of those horses, three are on debut.
The Chris Waller-trained Rotator has only made one competitive appearance at the races so far, but has opened the $3.80 favourite. A daughter of Not A Single Doubt, Rotator worked home well to finish a close second in the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) two weeks ago.
These races full of debutants and green two-year-olds are not for me, and I am happy to stay out of this one from a betting perspective.
This week’s Highway race will be contested over the middle-distance trip of 1800m and has drawn a capacity field. With the early scratching of Takarakka, first emergency Trumbo ($14) has gained a start and looks as a genuine each-way shot. The California Dane gelding won at Canberra three starts back and has finished second at each of his two most-recent appearances, including a 1500m Highway race a fortnight ago.
This Benchmark 78 race has drawn a reasonably open field of stayers, but it does look like Gayatri’s race to lose. Gayatri ($2) has found career best form this time in and has recorded three wins and a place in four appearances, including a 2200m race at Warwick Farm last time out. This is a step up in class, but she has the runs on the board and the notable bonus of Hugh Bowman in the saddle. I wouldn’t want him any shorter in the market, but he looks up to winning a race of this calibre.
Diplomatico has opened as the $2.70 favourite to win the fourth from the Danny Williams-trained Don’t Give A Damn ($3.60) and Paret ($6.50).
Diplomatico has not been seen at the races since November, but he was outstanding last time in and won each of his first two starts, including the Listed Brian Crowley (1200m). A repeat of either of those performances would find him difficult to beat on Saturday. He’s had the benefit of a trial and is drawn ideally in barrier 4 and with only 54kgs in tow.
Wayanka ($12) will take plenty of benefit into his second-up target here and is good enough to fight out the finish at a nice price. The Encosta De Lago gelding was tough to the line when fourth over 1400m at Randwick first-up and he can go forward from barrier 2.
Three-year-old Brutal will launch his Autumn Carnival campaign in the Southern Cross Stakes and has firmed into $2 favouritism. The O’reilly colt has won all three of his career starts to date, including two at listed level and has trialled extremely well in the lead-up to this race.
One runner that appeals at an each-way price is the John O’Shea-trained Kaepernick ($12). Last year’s winner of this race, Kaepernick finished second at each of his first two starts this time and worked home well to finish fourth in the Magic Millions Snippets (1200m) last time out. He’s been kept up to the mark with a trial and is drawn ideally (barrier 4).
I’ll be happy to have something on both horses at their current quotes.
Seven brave competitors will attempt the seemingly impossible when they step out alongside equine superstar Winx in this year’s Apollo Stakes. Winx has won twenty-nine consecutive races since May 2015, including a world record twenty-two Group 1 events and four-consecutive Cox Plates. Her record speaks for itself, her dominance is legendary, and it would take a far braver man than me to tip against her.
Some of the country’s best three-year-old fillies will step out in this year’s Light Fingers Stakes and we’re set for a thrilling contest.
Group 1 winner Oohood ($6.50) is resuming and typically, looms as a live chance of winning. The I Am Invincible filly broke her maiden in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) in spring but has enjoyed an outstanding career since debuting in late 2017.
Miss Fabulass absolutely flies fresh and has opened the $2.80 favourite. A daughter of the legendary Frankel, Miss Fabulass broke her maiden with ease first-up in autumn and continued to impress through three subsequent starts which included an easy win in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m).
The Triscay Stakes is shaping as the most open race on the Apollo Stakes card and there is a case to be made for nearly every horse in the thirteen-strong field. At publish, we’re looking at $5 the field.
Happy to have something each-way on the David Pfieffer-trained I Am Excited ($5.50) here, who is resuming after a brief spell over summer. The Snitzel mare is a multiple black type winner and has been a strong and consistent performer throughout her racing career so far but reached new heights in spring, which included a win in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m). She’s had the benefit of a couple of trials and wouldn’t look out of place in the winner’s stall here.
This is a pretty tough prospect for punters with a lot of the classier horses in the field resuming and several drawing wide.
All Too Soon ($13) is a horse that typically runs well fresh and has had the benefit of a couple of trials leading into this race. The daughter of All Too Hard recorded several pleasing results last time in and was a smart winner over 1500m at Rosehill most notably. She’s quite versatile so her wide barrier isn’t the end of the world and she does looks slight over at her current price.