|Winx on her way to winning the 2018 George Ryder Stakes|
I’m off to Sydney tomorrow afternoon to attend the super race meeting at Rosehill Racecourse on Saturday where wonder mare Winx will be running her second last race before retirement.
In my past two trips to Sydney I flew up on the Saturday, but this year decided to take the less stressful option of staying an extra night in Sydney to avoid the inevitable flight delays that result in fret and worry about arriving in time to get to the races.
So I can take it easy this year, staying overnight and being pretty well assured of an early arrival at Rosehill Racecourse.
Last year I was astounded by how easy it was to get a good position on the fence to photograph the races. This year I suspect it will be more crowded with Winx fans jostling for position. Anyway I’ll play it as it lays and hope for the perfect spot and good photographs.
As it has rained heavily in Sydney this week, the track is sure to be on the soggy side. This won’t faze Winx – she loves it wet.
There are five Group 1 races on the program and the first to run is the Rosehill Guineas, where I’m looking forward to seeing The Autumn Sun in action again. He faces 12 rivals, the most threatening being New Zealand colts Madison County, Crown Prosecutor and Surely Sacred.
Winx will be gunning for her 32nd consecutive win in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, a race she has won easily three times already. Six other runners will be vying for second place; the formerly Darren Weir trained Land of Plenty, So Si Bon and colts Ringerdingding and Brutal.
In the Ranvet Stakes Avilius will be out to redeem his reputation after his poor showing in the Australian Cup. Also in the picture are Chris Waller mares Egg Tart, Unforgotten & Shillelagh and classy New Zealand mare Danzdanzdance who has excellent wet form.
The Golden Slipper is a conundrum with no particular stand out performers, the field comprised of six colts and ten fillies. Top colts are Microphone, Yes Yes Yes and Cosmic Force whilst the top filly chances are Blue Diamond Stakes winner Lyre, recent winners Tenley, Pin Sec, Exhilarates and Kiamichi.
I’m looking forward to seeing Nature Strip again in the final Group 1 of the afternoon, the Galaxy. Can he redeem his reputation after his dismal failure in the Oakleigh Plate? He’ll have to beat a classy field that includes double Everest winner Redzel who loves the wet.
On Friday night Sunlight will be aiming for another Group 1 win in the William Reid Stakes. At her only other start at Moonee Valley under lights, she ended unplaced for the only time in her career, though had excuses when she missed the jump and was then blocked for running room. She has drawn the widest barrier this time, but with Shoals and Champagne Cuddles scratched she faces only seven rivals, most of whom she has beaten in the past.