Winx will jump from the outside barrier in a field of nine in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but that’s unlikely to faze Hugh Bowman or Chris Waller who prefer to have the champion mare out three wide and in clear galloping room.
In what will be Winx’s swansong as she chases a 33rd-straight win and 25th Group 1 victory, the Queen Elizabeth field is a stellar line-up, including Hartnell and Happy Clapper, who have so often chased the mighty mare in vein.
The pair have both crafted outstanding careers when they have dodged Winx. Happy Clapper has won an Epsom, Doncaster Mile and Canterbury Stakes in track-record time at Group 1 level while Hartnell has claimed a BMW, Turnbull Stakes, Epsom and C.F. Orr Stakes at the top level.
The fact neither have made a realistic challenge to Winx highlights her dominance of Australian racing across the past four seasons.
He’s Eminent made an impression at his first Australian start and his very presence should ensure a genuine tempo, which will set the race up for Winx to produce a high-rating performance.
The field is littered with quality Group 1 winners including Harlem, Danzdanzdance and Shillelagh while the Japanese seven-year-old Kluger will back up from running fourth in last week’s Doncaster Mile.
Winx is currently $1.06 for Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) – 3:05pm, Saturday
1. Happy Clapper (Pat Webster, Blake Shinn) – barrier 6, 59kg
2. Hartnell (James Cummings, Kerrin McEvoy) – barrier 4, 59 kg
3. Harlem (David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Jamie Kah) – barrier 8, 59kg
4. He’s Eminent (Sir Mark Todd, James McDonald) – barrier 3, 59kg
5. Kluger (Tomokazu Takano, Tommy Berry) – barrier 1, 59kg
6. Mask Of Time (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Sam Clipperton) – barrier 7, 59kg
7. Winx (Chris Waller, Hugh Bowman) – barrier 9, 57kg
8. Danzdanzdance (Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley, Opie Bosson) – barrier 5, 57kg
9. Shillelagh (Chris Waller, Brenton Avdulla) – barrier 2, 57kg