Winx Stakes Tips & Preview
Looking for Winx Stakes tips and predictions? We take a look at each runner and give our top selections and best bets for the Randwick feature.
Group 1 racing returns on Saturday with the Winx Stakes (1400m) attracting a capacity field of 16 plus two emergencies.
Similar to last week’s PB Lawrence Stakes, the majority of runners are resuming from a spell, so we need to assess the form of fit horses and pit that against first-up performances of the dozen fresh runners.
We just missed in the PB Lawrence with our two selections, Sircconi ($26) and Kings Will Dream ($14) finishing 2nd and 3rd, and there’s more value to be had this Saturday.
HOW DO THE WINX STAKES FAVOURITES FARE?
Firstly, I don’t see how Verry Elleegant has come up as favourite when she finished near last in this race last year.
That effort rated 7.1 lengths quicker than standard BM due to Samadoubt setting a hot speed, and last campaign, Verry Elleegant only went 1.2 lengths above BM when 4th behind Alizee in the Apollo Stakes (1400m).
Verry Elleegant was given one soft trial in preparation for this, and last campaign she had two trials going into the Apollo, so I can’t see her pulling out a first-up effort that will be good enough to win on Saturday.
Chris Waller’s other mare, Funstar, has much better first-up figures as she went 9.3 lengths quicker than BM when first-up over 1400m at Randwick last campaign.
She went at just slower than even speed to the 600m and really finished off strongly going 10.2 lengths quicker than standard for the final 600m.
As for Master Of Wine, in three first-up runs, he’s gone 3.1 and 4.5 lengths quicker than standard, as well as going 1.5 lengths slower than BM when first-up last spring.
I think he trialled better than his stablemate Zebrowski who is the second emergency, but the trial was very workman like and he was simply going through the motions.
He always improves second-up and again third-up, so I’m willing to risk him also and find some value.
WHO ARE THE STRONGEST FIRST-UP PERFORMERS?
As well as Funstar, a few others are proven first-up and have posted strong figures.
Dreamforce won the Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up last spring going 9.9 lengths quicker than BM, and he was runner-up to Alizee in the Apollo Stakes finishing a couple of lengths in front of Verry Elleegant.
He seems to run the same figures in his last 600m regardless of the early pace, so he needs a quick early tempo on Saturday to rate as a top chance.
Quackerjack and Wolfe should inject enough pace into it while Con Te Partiro and Zebrowski keep them honest, and with Dreamforce drawing gate 16, he needs to show early speed and try and slot in behind the leaders.
The Bostonian went 11.4 lengths quicker than BM first-up over 1300m last campaign where he was runner-up to Savatiano who again showed great fresh form by winning the PB Lawrence last Saturday.
Avilius is just below the top figures first-up but is consistent, and Fierce Impact also rates on the second tier but improves dramatically second-up – so keep that in mind for next time.
Kolding rates on the third tier and stablemate Star Of The Seas can produce strong first-up figures over 1100m but not over further – I think Star Of The Seas will need the run and peak late.
Quackerjack and Brandenburg would need to be at their absolute best to mix it with some of these first-up, and I’m willing to risk both.
Finally for the fresh horses, Con Te Partiro does go well fresh but was given a solid rev up in a recent barrier trial where I thought Star Of The Seas worked better despite finishing a couple of lengths back.
I’m risking Star Of The Seas so I have to risk Con Te Partiro also.
WHICH RUNNERS HAVE FITNESS ON THEIR SIDE?
Imaging, Niccanova, Melody Belle and Flit are the quartet to have raced this campaign.
Niccanova usually peaks second-up and has gone 11.3 and 10.6 lengths quicker than standard in his past two second-up runs over 1600m and 1400m.
He’s technically not second-up but did have a two-month break before a runner-up finish behind the speedy Just Orm over 1050m.
He’s a mudlark and would have loved for Randwick to stay at the Heavy rating, but with no rain on the radar leading up to Saturday, we should get an upgrade into the Soft range.
However, I’m still giving Niccanova a chance at big odds.
Similarly, Imaging races best on a Heavy track, and he posted a strong first-up figure going 8.3 lengths quicker than standard behind Eduardo and Flit.
Flit improved second-up last campaign and is better on a firmer surface, so I’m inclined to rate Flit ahead of Imaging.
Melody Belle was last behind that pair, and while she will improve second-up out to 1400m, so will Flit and on what I saw last start, I can’t entertain Melody Belle winning this even though she’s a star.
WHO WILL WIN THE WINX STAKES IN 2020?
Dreamforce, The Bostonian, Niccanova and Funstar are my top four chances.
Niccanova improves by nearly 10 lengths second-up and he was narrowly beaten in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) second-up last prep.
There looks to be some genuine speed on here and that should give him a good chance to swoop from the rear.
If horses are favoured getting to the outside and swooping late in the day, Niccanova looks a great chance as my best value bet in the Winx Stakes.
Of the other trio, The Bostonian and Funstar have drawn well in gates 1 and 3, while Dreamforce has drawn gate 16 and will need some luck – and I’d prefer to take luck out of the equation.
Funstar has the Cox Plate as her main aim will take plenty of improvement from this, while The Bostonian has won six from seven first-up runs and won his only start at Randwick defeating Savatiano in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) last campaign.
He loves Soft to Heavy ground, has the inside gate and should prove hardest to beat with Jay Ford taking the ride for astute horseman Tony Pike.