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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Wondermare Winx back in action with Black Caviar record on horizon

Winx: won the Queen Elizabeth 12 months ago
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Preview: Australia, Saturday (6.05am BST)
Randwick: Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+

Australia's golden girl Winx (Chris Waller/Hugh Bowman) has her chance to step alongside the nation's first lady Black Caviar when she headlines a major day's racing in New South Wales.

On the second and final Saturday of Randwick's Championships jamboree, Winx will be the star turn on a card featuring three other richly endowed Group 1s.

However, most, if not all, of the focus will fall on Winx, who bids to equal Black Caviar's 25-race winning streak in the £1.3 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which she won 12 months ago.

Click here to view the Randwick cards

Unbeaten since finishing second on this card in the Australian Oaks three years ago, Winx faces a tough field, according to her rider.

"I think the reality is, usually there is one main horse to focus on as opposition, but this week there are three or four, maybe even five, who are primed for the target," Bowman said after putting the class act through her final warm-up paces at Rosehill on Thursday morning.

"All we want is a smooth passage and for her to get there in the form we've seen over the last two or three years."

While brilliant sprinter Black Caviar was unbeaten, Winx achieved what no other horse has when landing her 17th top-level triumph on her last appearance in the George Ryder.

"Breaking the Group 1 record last start probably has more significance to me than 25 straight," added Bowman, whose partner in crime will not travel to Britain this summer for Royal Ascot.

That was not an easy decision for her top trainer, who is understandably proud of his stable star's achievements.

Wondermare Winx up there with Caviar

"It's been close to three years since she started the winning streak but since then she has captured the racing world, then the sporting world and now the imagination of the general public. With that she has got overseas attention, which we are very proud of," Waller added.

"She has that air of arrogance on race day where she knows she can pick them up and whatever she puts her body through to be able to do it, she seems to be able to. She certainly knows what she is here for but is enjoying life. Her body language suggests she is a very happy horse."

The outstanding mare's rivals also include Irish raider Success Days, a solid Group performer for Ken Condon who will be ridden by Brazilian ace Joao Moreira.

Gimcrack hero hits the road

Last season's Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack winner Sands Of Mali begins his three-year-old campaign in the Group 3 Prix Sigy (1.20) at Chantilly on Friday.

Sands Of Mali, who provided trainer Richard Fahey with his first victory in York's historic juvenile contest, carries a penalty for that Group 2 success as he faces eight domestic rivals over six furlongs.

"He's wintered extremely well and we're very happy with him – he works like a proper Group 1 horse," said Fahey.

"We're dropping him back to a Group 3 but he's giving away weight to some okay horses and it's not a soft race."

Fahey holds aspirations of running Sands Of Mali in the Commonwealth Cup and Quiet Reflection took the Prix Sigy en route to winning the Group 1 at Royal Ascot in 2016.

Read exclusive previews from 6pm tonight on



She has that air of arrogance on race day where she knows she can pick them up
E.W. Terms
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