Winx’s phenomenal career concludes this weekend with a blockbuster crowd set to take over Royal Randwick for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the superstar in action for the final time.
Joining her at Randwick in a bumper race card is Sydney Cup contender Gallic Chieftain who is set to take his place in the Group 1, 3200m Handicap. Having had a light week after his Group 2 Chairman’s Quality win last Saturday, he backs up in the staying feature of the day. Trainer Archie Alexander is pleased with Gallic Chieftain’s fitness and ensured he had blown out the cobwebs during the week with a brisk gallop on the course proper at Warwick Farm. With all running smoothly coming into Saturday, we are looking forward to seeing Gallic perform at his best and provide us with another thrilling finish!
Also looking to line up in the Group 1 Sydney Cup for OTI is Fairlight. Currently sitting as first emergency, the possibility of him gaining a start remains unknown. Race day scratchings will be the deciding factor and should Fairlight gain a start, Kris Lees believes he will stay the 3200m well. Having won over 2400m this preparation, he is a horse that continues improve and will relish in the rise in distance. Being just four-years-old, Lees believes he will be an even better horse with another 12 months under his belt in Australia and can therefore show his true staying form.
To Queensland on Saturday, Le Juge heads to Eagle Farm to contest a Class 6 race over a mile. He has drawn well with barrier four in a field of fourteen which will allow for a far more economical run compared to previous starts. Looking to make use of the barrier will be Robbie Fradd, continuing the strong relationship he has built with the horse who isn’t always the easiest of rides. Despite carrying the top weight of 59.5kgs, Le Juge is in career best form and racing with renewed confidence. After winning three from his last four races, we hope to see him in the top three again.
Also racing at Eagle Farm is Master Zephyr who jumps in the Open Handicap over 1400m. Despite being significantly short of his ideal distance and drawing a wide barrier, Master Zephyr trialled well earlier in the week and this race gives him a great starting point in his fitness this campaign. Trainer Tony Haydon is impressed with the horse’s work ethic and reports he is pleasing every step of the way. We look forward to what this preparation might hold!
Above: Master Zephyr driving for the line at Flemington.
Araaja resumes this Saturday at Caulfield over 1400m for Chris Waller. She has unfortunately drawn barrier nine in a field of ten, however, makes the trip down from Sydney in good form. After two sharp trials at Warwick Farm over 800m, Waller is looking to step her up in distance. Using this race as a progression point to get up to the mile and then 2000m. We hope to see her handle the firmer track at Caulfield and work through the line.
To Sunday at Terang for the Cup meeting, Instigator steps out in the feature race over 2150m with winkers for the first time. Having worked in company on the grass at Camperdown for Aaron Purcell this week, he worked off his partner and met him at the line, cruising through the work. Instigator tends to easily get by in track work and prefers to show his tenacity on race day – so we hope to see that come out this weekend.
So Far Sokool also heads to Terang, looking to regain her form from last Autumn in the BM78 over 1200m. Having been competing in tougher assignments during the spring, she should relish the drop in class, being able to make use of her excellent draw. Looking to use this race as a nice springboard into her campaign, Archie Alexander is hoping to see a top five finish and her spark for racing ignited again.
Best of luck to their connections, we hope to be reporting on some OTI winners leading into next week!