THE Daily Telegraph racing editor Ray Thomas and Sky Thoroughbred Central’s form expert Ron Dufficy discuss the chances in all nine races at the Winx Stakes meeting at Royal Randwick on Saturday.


Race 3, No.8 ALMANZORA Race 9, No.5 KAONIC
Race 9, No.9 SHOGUN SUN Race 2, No.3 JUST SHINE
Race 4, No.6 FUTOOH Race 3, No.3 BROOK MAGIC

R1 (12.05pm): TAB HIGHWAY PLATE (1600m)

Thomas: Panzerfaust is giving away experience and age to her rivals but I think she is a filly with so much upside. She was impressive winning her maiden at Scone then was unlucky at Muswellbrook, finishing fast from well back on the turn to just miss. The step up to 1600m should be ideal for her. Wallander was dominant winning the Highway at Rosehill last start, Fui San has been improved by two runs from a spell and is at good each-way odds, while Evopex has been impressive last two starts.

Dufficy: I know she has only just turned three and jumps significantly in distance here but she looks promising, Panzerfaust. She charged to the line at Muswellbrook last start indicating the extra distance should suit her. I think she will be hard to hold out with no weight on her back. I would have had Evopex on top from a better draw. He has been racing in dominant form of late. Wallander was at big odds winning last start and the stable knows how to win these races. Fui San won a Highway over this course and distance when last in work and he is ready now after two runs from a spell.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Cisco Bay $5.50 — $7, Evopex $4.80 — $5, Wallander $5 — $5.50 ($500 @ $5), Butchoy $8 — $7.50, Panzerfaust $5.50 — $3.20 — $3.40 ($1000 @ $3.20).




R2 (12.40pm): BOB INGHAM HCP (2400m)

Thomas: I like Just Shine to gain revenge over Raqeeq here. They clashed at Rosehill recently when Raqeeq won but he did have a 5kg weight pull. There is only a kilo between them and I feel Just Shine is the one to beat. Just Shine goes very well at Randwick and although 2400m is a slight query, I think he will run it out. Raqeeq came off his Rosehill win and was disappointing last start. The race was a bit of a sprint home and maybe Raqeeq should have finished closer. Give him another chance. Vaucluse Bay and Red Alto fought out the finish over this course and distance last start and will be thereabouts again.

Dufficy: I’m with Just Shine as well. I like his consistency, he has had three weeks and a trial between runs, he meets Raqeeq 4kg better and he is two from two at Randwick. There are a few statistics in his favour. Red Alto goes up to 60.5kg but it was a giant-killing effort fighting off eight Chris Waller runners last start. Vaucluse Bay meets Red Alto 1.5kg better at the weights and was only beaten a bob of the heads last start. Best of the rest is Screamarr who is capable of causing an upset at odds.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Red Alto $6 — $9, Just Shine $3.80 — $3.60 — $4 ($4000 @ $3.80, $500 @ $4), Exoteric $8 — $10, Vaucluse Bay $5.50 — $6.50, Raqeeq $4.40 — $4.80 — $3.20.

media_cameraJust Shine has a good record at Royal Randwick. Picture: Getty Images

R3 (1.15pm): FORUM HCP (1000m)

Thomas: Brook Magic comes back to her favourite trip, I think she is at her best over 1000m. She has got out to 1300m and 1200m at her last two starts where she raced well. She is a flying machine, rock-hard fit, has that natural brilliance and will be in this race for a long way. Almanzora had no luck first-up. She is a talented mare and just needs even luck in running. Leami Astray was very good at Moruya, she drops significantly in weight and is an each way chance. Sharpe Hussler unleashed a brilliant turn of foot last start and rates among the main contenders again.

Dufficy: I know she is back in distance second-up, Almanzora, but I think she has the quality to get over the top of them late. There will be good speed in this 1000m race and given clear running I think she wins. Sharpe Hussler landed some good bets in a solid race at Rosehill last start and if he reproduces that effort, he will be in the finish here. Brook Magic, I concede, is racing well, is very fit, and three of her four career wins have been at 1000m. If there is to be an upset it could Lightz who was quite impressive first-up at Kembla Grange and has a big weight drop here.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Sharpe Hussler $6.50 — $7; then $6.50, Brook Magic $4.80 — $4.40 — $4.60 — $3.80; then $3.60, Almanzora $2.30 — $2.40 — $2.30; then $2.20 — $2.15.

R4 (1.50pm): SILVER SHADOW STAKES (1200m)

Thomas: Fiesta showed a lot of ability as a juvenile, missing a place only once in six starts when she ran seventh in the Golden Slipper after she drew the outside barrier. She won the Widden Stakes and was runner-up in the Sweet Embrace Stakes and Percy Sykes to confirm her quality. She has been impressive in her two recent trials and drawn the inside barrier, will be in the race for a long way. Oohood, the nation’s best maiden, is a three-time Group 1 placegetter, including her Golden Slipper second, and she will be finishing hard. Meryl is an underrated filly, a winner at stakes level first-up previously, and is over the odds. Ready To Prophet comes off a dominant midweek win, she is an improving filly and will run well, particularly if allowed to dictate the tempo.

Dufficy: A tricky race. The trials of Futooh has really attracted my attention, she is airborne at the moment. I know she is resuming off a Fernhill Handicap win but if they overdo it up front, she can get over the top of them at good odds. Fiesta is the danger. She is resuming with blinkers, she is a very genuine filly and always around the mark. Oohood has been a bridesmaid at the top level. She has had no official trial but had a Flemington jump-out which she won well. Outback Barbie is a sharp filly who maps well from an inside draw.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Fiesta $4 — $4.40 ($500 @ $4.40), Oohood $2.50 — $2.70 — $2.30 — $2.40 ($1500 @ $2.60, $1500 @ $2.50, $1500 and $1200 @ $2.40), Outback Barbie $5 — $4.60, Futooh $9.50 — $6.50 ($400 e/w @ $7.50/$2.20, $600 x $400 @ $6.50/$1.95).

media_cameraFutooh has been well backed in the Silver Shadow Stakes. Picture: AAP

R5 (2.25pm): UP AND COMING STAKES (1300m)

Thomas: I was so taken by Military Zone’s win at Randwick over 1200m two weeks ago. He was in awful trouble coming into the straight, back and inside runners. But he weaved through the pack and unleashed late to catch Danawi near the line. His sectionals were stunning and he is a promising young sprinter. Smart Elissim is unbeaten and talented, Danawi has been beaten by two smart horses at his only starts, and Spin broke his maiden with authority last start and that win will give him confidence.

Dufficy: Anything goes here. I can make a strong case for every runner in this race. Encryption has to give up to 6kg to his rivals but the Black Opal Stakes winner has had two eye-catching barrier trials, he gets a lovely run from his inside draw and he is here to run well. The danger is Smart Elissim. He only won a four-horse race at Sandown last start but it is a strong form race. I also liked the trial of Irukandji. He is going to get back in the field but over 1300m when the others are getting jelly legs he will be finishing fast at double-figure odds. Danawi went out too hard first-up and was a sitting shot that day. At his only other start it took a subsequent Group 1 winner, The Autumn Sun, to run him down and he rates as a definite chance.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Master Ash $8 — $8.50, Military Zone $6 — $4.40 ($400 @ $6, $800, $700 and $500 @ $4.40), Smart Elissim $4.60 — $4.80, Danawi $4.60 — $5 ($600 @ $4.80).

R6 (3pm): WINX STAKES (1400m)

Thomas: Champion mare Winx resumes and it seems she is going as well as ever. Her rider Hugh Bowman thought her recent barrier trial was as good as she has ever gone in a trial. Trainer Chris Waller believes 1400m is the perfect distance to kickstart her new season campaign and she will make it win number 26 in succession. Kementari could be the next big thing in Australian racing and he does have a race fitness edge when he was a luckless first-up second to Pierata in the Missile Stakes. D’Argento and Ace High have both looked very sharp in their recent trials and are ready to sprint well fresh. Ronnie, there has been some talk that Winx could be vulnerable at 1400m first-up — what do you think?

Dufficy: No, not really. I don’t see any negatives with Winx, she has won her last 25 races in succession, she has looked as good as ever in her lead-up trials, I’ve never heard her connections be so positive about here, and with even luck she will beat them. Kementari has added a lot of interest in this race. He is one of the best horses in the country and he has had that one run back. D’Argento is in for a big spring and bears respect. I also agree with Ace High, he is there to sprint well fresh like he usually does but I can’t tip against Winx, she is a great champion.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Kementari $7 — $7.50 — $6 ($500 @ $7.50), D’Argento $15 — $19 — $17, Winx $1.12 — $1.16 ($140,000 and $10,000 @ $1.12, $5000 @ $1.14, $7000 and $5000 [twice] @ $1.16).

It all started on the Sunshine Coast, and has taken her right around the country without a single loss. Take a look at all of Winx’s marvellous 25 wins in a row here!

All 25 of Winx’s marvellous wins in a row

R7 (3.40pm): SHOW COUNTY QUALITY (1200m)

Thomas: Do you go with Le Romain, the class runner who has plenty of weight but is trialling well and should run a terrific race, or Siege Of Quebec who has also looked sharp in his recent trials. I’ve landed on Siege Of Quebec with the 8kg weight pull. I can envisage both horses settling on speed, slugging it out from the turn and this is where Siege Of Quebec’s weight advantage might kick in. Le Romain is an outstanding galloper and will run well. Super Tycoon is resuming after two years and although I don’t think he can win, I feel he can run top four and set himself up for a good spring campaign.

Dufficy: I saw it exactly the same as you, I found it hard to split them, but he is a talented horse Siege Of Quebec. He has won two barrier trials, he is two from two fresh, he seems wound up and he does have that big weight pull. Obviously the class horse is Le Romain. He is a proven topliner, goes well fresh and has drawn barrier one. He will be hard to beat. Condor Heroes is a question mark at 1200m but he did enough first-up to suggest he will run well. No Doubt is resuming off a long spell but I’ve always had an opinion of this horse and expect him to run a competitive race.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Le Romain $2.50 — $3.20 — $2.90; then $2.70 — $2.30 ($3000 @ $2.60, $2000 @ $3), Siege Of Quebec $4 — $3.50 — $3.80 — $3.20; then $3 — $2.60 ($3800 @ $3.80, $1800 @ $3.40, $2000 @ $3), Condor Heroes $5.50 — $8.50; then $7 — $6.

R8 (4.20pm): TOY SHOW QUALITY (1300m)

Thomas: Sharpness won at Canterbury on a heavy track then whisked to Melbourne where she won a strong form race at Caulfield. This is a test for Sharpness but she is a very fit, in-form mare, she likes to race on-speed and will be in this for a long way. Smart Amelia’s two runs for the Bjorn Baker stable have been very good and she rates highly. Egyptian Symbol had excuses first-up and back to mares grade here she is better suited. Insensata has a lot of ability but if this race is run to suit she will be storming home.

Dufficy: This is another tricky race. I wasn’t convinced Egyptian Symbol did much first-up but I have to tip her off the speed map. There is no pressure up front, she has the right draw, will be in a beautiful position throughout and on her best form she would bolt this race in. I have to be forgiving off her first-up flop. Payroll, at big odds, is a danger. She usually sprints well fresh and I love backing Queensland winter form first-up as they have residual fitness on their side. Big query on I Am Coldplay. She has good form in New Zealand, she has been given two soft trials going into today’s race and Hugh Bowman is in the saddle. Luvaluva should sprint well fresh as she is a quality mare.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Egyptian Symbol $3.70 — $4.20, I Am Coldplay $6 — $7, Zestful $8 — $9, Luvaluva $11 — $8 ($1000 @ $9.50), Nettoyer $8 — $8.50, Insensata $8 — $7.50 ($750 e/w @ $8/$2.60), Sharpness $8 — $9, Smart Amelia $8 — $7.

media_cameraShogun Sun will bring his impressive Queensland form to Sydney. Picture: AAP


Thomas: I’m making Kaonic my best bet. I’m gambling on the fact this horse is back and back in a big way. I know he got a great rails-hugging ride to win first-up over 1400m here a month ago but I was impressed by the way he attacked the line. He’s always shown plenty of ability and might be ready to realise his potential this spring. Souchez also ran well first-up and is the danger. The former English galloper Best Of Days is a big watch here. His best form is over further but I liked his recent trial win at Randwick. Onslaught has drawn a barrier today and will run well.

Dufficy: I am quite confident Shogun Sun will be hard to beat. He has won two of his last three starts interstate, he has talent, and won his only Randwick start previously. From his inside draw I’m hoping he can race a little closer than he usually does. Milseain is a former New Zealand-trained mare having her first start for the Kris Lees stable but she has shaped promisingly in two recent barrier trials. Souchez was set an impossible task at Rosehill first-up, his effort was outstanding. I’m just worried about him getting back in a slowly run race. Nothing against Kaonic, who won well first-up, but he needs a few breaks to go his way.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Best Of Days $8 — $7.50 — $8, Souchez $6 — $7 ($1000 e/w @ $7/$2.50), Goathland $26 — $31 — $26 ($500 e/w @ $26/$6), Kaonic $3.60 — $3.70 — $3.30 ($1200 x $2400 @ $3.30/$1.65), Onslaught $8 — $7.50, Shogun Sun $4.80 — $5.50 — $4.40 — $4.80 — $4.60 ($400 @ $5.50).




BEST BET: LIGULATE (Race 1, No. 7)

Godolphin colt whose three career starts are all at Randwick, including his third and final run of the first campaign on January 20, where he finished fifth behind subsequent Golden Slipper winner Estijaab. Well placed in this grade.

NEXT BEST: SHINJU (Race 3, No. 1)

Snowden Racing bagged four winners at the last Kembla meeting, on August 4 — they have the James Harron gelding Shinju resuming here for the first time since he finished down the order behind The Autumn Sun at Randwick on Anzac Day. Has trialled brilliantly ahead of this.

VALUE: UNION DUES (Race 6, No. 5)

Royally-bred Fastnet Rock mare who sold for $500,000 at the yearling sales. She was beaten a nose at Sandown-Lakeside on April 18 over the mile. Looked good in an August 7 trial.


MITCHELL BELL always gives the TAB Jockeys Challenge a good shake — expect nothing different from him here with a lovely book of rides.


Race 5: 2,7,6,9

Race 6: 4,5,6

Race 7: 5,9,10,12

Race 8: 1,5,9


BEST BET: THE ICEMAN (Race 4, No. 2)

Locally trained gelding who has been in fabulous form. Was rewarded for his efforts with a thumping six-lengths win at Coonamble in a 1400m maiden last time out. Can go on with it now.

NEXT BEST: THE GUN (Race 6, No. 2)

Sue Grills-trained grey who has Greg Ryan on, which is significant. The Gun’s only win is over 900m, this is 800m. Has a big finish, just needs the perfect ride.


BEST BET: TIFFONI (Race 1, No. 8)

Matthew Dale-trained mare who is a half to his stable star Fell Swoop. Tiffoni led and was run down late when second at Moruya last time. Drawn one.


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