Jockey Hugh Bowman wins a trial race aboard Winx during The Star Chinese Festival of Racing at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Saturday, February 17, 2018. (AAP Image/Rafal Kontrym) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jockey Hugh Bowman wins a trial race aboard Winx during The Star Chinese Festival of Racing at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Saturday, February 17, 2018. (AAP Image/Rafal Kontrym) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

England rolls out red carpet for Winx

ENGLISH racing officials from famous Royal Ascot, Goodwood and York have joined forces in a concerted effort to lure the connections of Winx to race their champion mare overseas this year.

Royal Ascot's international equine recruiter Nick Smith, Goodwood's managing director Adam Waterworth and Yorke's chief executive William Derby are in Sydney to meet with Team Winx and detail an extended European race campaign tailored to suit the world's best racehorse on turf.

The trio caught up with Winx's part-owner Debbie Kepitis on Monday and plan to discuss the overseas campaign on Tuesday with trainer Chris Waller and another of the mare's owners, Peter Tighe.

Smith revealed Winx was the number one priority for the English race clubs although they are also targeting Team Snowden's super sprinter Redzel and Group 1-winning stablemate Russian Revolution, Newcastle's top mare In Her Time and brilliant Melbourne colt Merchant Navy.

Waller has determined that no decision on Winx's long-term race program will be announced until after she contests the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 24.

 

Hugh Bowman prepares to ride Winx on Apollo Stakes Day. Picture: Getty Images
Hugh Bowman prepares to ride Winx on Apollo Stakes Day. Picture: Getty Images

 

But Smith said some various European race programs have been devised to give Waller options if he decides to take Winx to overseas later this year.

"We brought together the leading tracks from the UK, France and Ireland to design a whole road map of potential races for Winx,'' Smith said.

"The Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot is the logical target and there is the potential for her to have a 'prep' run in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury three weeks earlier.

"But we understand Winx is a Sydney horse and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes is such an important race in your autumn carnival so she may well run in that again.

"I don't think anyone has been more clear than Chris Waller and his team that he gets Winx to the George Ryder and that is D-Day for the decision.''

If Winx was to go overseas, it is likely to be for more than just a hit-and-run Royal Ascot start with possible race targets including the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and the Juddmonte International at York during the northern hemisphere summer.

A shot taken a video camera attached to Hugh Bowman’s skull cap. The vision proved a huge hit with Winx’s legion of fans.
A shot taken a video camera attached to Hugh Bowman’s skull cap. The vision proved a huge hit with Winx’s legion of fans.

Trainer Peter Snowden also met with English officials about possible race plans for Redzel and Russian Revolution.

"I think the vibes we are getting from Peter Snowden and team is that a second Everest with Redzel is very important to them,'' Smith said.

"But they have Royal Ascot on the radar and are thinking about a potential trip with Redzel next year.

"We would like to think Russian Revolution could be a chance of coming. He is a stallion prospect so there is that commercial appeal to bring him over for races like the King's Stand Stakes (Royal Ascot) and the Nunthorpe Stakes (York).''

Corey Brown, the dual Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, is likely to ride In Her Time in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and he is also now a frontrunner to be Australia's representative in the Shergar Jockey Series at Ascot in August.

SHINN IN THE CLEAR

RACING NSW stewards concluded the long-running Star Sensation inquiry and took no action against jockey Blake Shinn after finding there were no integrity concerns with his ride.

 

YOUNG GUNS MAKE PRESENCE FELT

SOME of Sydney's best three-year-olds including Kementari, Trapeze Artist, D'Argento, Ace High, Pierata and Siege of Quebec are among 17 nominations for the Group 2 $400,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

The Group 2 $250,000 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) for two-year-olds also promises to be an intriguing race with Golden Slipper favourite Sunlight, unbeaten youngsters Estijaab, Gongs, Neutrality and Zousain, plus promising Setsuna, Ennis Hill and Fiesta among the entries.


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