Double delight as Redzel and Winx strut their stuff
5.45am Saturday GMT Flemington
Black Caviar Lightning (Group 1) | 5f | 2yo+
Racing fans are in for a double treat in Australia on Saturday as champion sprinter Redzel returns in the Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington and Winx lines up for a specially arranged barrier trial at Randwick.
Redzel, winner of the Darley Classic and inaugural A$10 million Everest on his last two starts, will bid for a seventh consecutive victory against nine rivals, including last year's winner Terravista and dual Group 1 winner Hey Doc.
Hey Doc's trainer Tony McEvoy said: "It's the first time we've trained him as a sprinter and I'm really looking forward to seeing where he sits, with Redzel now being the benchmark.
"The way he's going I think he's a genuine top-three chance but I've got a lot of respect for the field. However, I wouldn't go swapping my horse for anything else in the race."
Also among the opposition is track-specialist Redkirk Warrior, formerly known as just Redkirk when trained in Britain by William Haggas.
"He has a great first-up record and we've put him in blinkers which he wore in a recent jump-out at Flemington and was really good," said co-trainer Tom Dabernig. "I think he's in similar form to when he won the Newmarket [Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap]."
Saturday was supposed to mark the return of Winx in the Apollo Stakes and although she will miss the race, racegoers at Randwick will still get to watch her in action in a barrier trial between races.
The three-time Cox Plate heroine, winner of her last 22 races, finished fifth behind Redzel in a barrier trial at Rosehill this month, but trainer Chris Waller sees the benefit of taking part in another.
"This will be a little more stimulating than a normal trial. She is well ahead of schedule, she was ready to race on Saturday," the trainer told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Having the crowd there will give it a different feeling for her and we will be able to show them where we think she is at the start of the preparation. It will also show us if we need to step her work up to be ready for the mile in a couple of weeks."
Regular rider Hugh Bowman, whose suspension caused the delay to Winx's comeback until next month's Chipping Norton Stakes, will be in the saddle for the trial and equipped with a microphone and camera to provide a greater insight into the preparation.
For complete coverage of racing and bloodstock in Australia and New Zealand, download ANZ Bloodstock News every day