The Oracle’s runner-by-runner guide: Winx Stakes at Royal Randwick

The first Group 1 of the new racing season is upon us as 14 runners do battle in the weight-for-age $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

While it’s a decent-sized field, there doesn’t look to be a huge amount of pace with Kolding and Dreamforce expected to push forward from barriers 10 and 11 respectively.

Thirteen of the 14 runners are first-up from a spell with Kolding the only runner to have had a run this preparation … and that could be crucial.

1. KOLDING

This bloke’s won $6.3m prizemoney and six of his 11 wins have come at Randwick. He was heavily backed first-up in the Expressway Stakes ($3.80-$3.20) but he couldn’t sprint with the others over 1200m and finished fifth beaten 1.5 lengths. He wasn’t disgraced but you can expect him to improve out of sight second-up over 1400m and Chris Waller would have targeted him at this race. Has the fitness advantage on the others, will race right on the speed and be hard to get past. Verdict: Can win. Each-way all day.

Kolding wins the Hill Stakes at Randwick.Source:Getty Images

2. THINK IT OVER

One of the surprise packets of the autumn winning the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, he then ran a huge race in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes to run a close fourth behind Addeybb and Verry Elleegant over 2000m. Has trialled well in preparation for this, has drawn low in gate 2 and has a great first-up record. Verdict: You’d be overthinking it if you left him out of your multiples.

CLICK HERE: Winx Stakes field, speed map, odds comparison

3. CASCADIAN

The Doncaster Mile winner backed it up with a fast-finishing third in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes over this track and trip behind Kolding in April. His first-up record is OK and he races well at Randwick. Hugh Bowman rides him for the first time in a race and from gate 7 he shouldn’t be too far off the speed. If he’s close enough when they hit the rise, he can finish over the top of them. Verdict: A must for the quaddie and first 4.

Cascadian (right) winning the Doncaster Mile.Source:Getty Images

4. DREAMFORCE

Now a nine-year-old, this bloke loves Randwick and has won six races from 19 starts here. He will be rolling along in front but it’s hard to see him fending off some of the better quality horses in the last 200m. You’d doubt he can improve given his age and while he’s been a great horse for a long time, the $14 on offer looks a bit short for mine. Verdict: Save the dream for another day.

5. IMAGING

There’s no doubting this Chris Waller-trained galloper’s ability but the reality is he’s only won one race since coming Down Under — and that was back in March 2020 on a heavy track. His best form is on softer tracks and he won’t get that on Saturday. Verdict: Imagine he’ll beat a handful home.

6. STAR OF THE SEAS

A bit like Imaging, he usually likes the sting out of the track to produce his best. But he’s far from ineffective on dry conditions and his Blamey Stakes win in February on a good track was strong. Has mixed it with these horses before and $26 looks a touch of overs. Verdict: Could sneak into the top 4.

7. KEIAI NAUTIQUE

This former Japanese galloper is an interesting runner but you couldn’t back him with stolen money on Saturday. His last trial was hardly convincing. He’d be better suited in something way easier than this. Verdict: One word. No.

8. MASTER OF WINE

Hasn’t delivered on his early promise and looks outclassed against this lot. He could beat a few home but it’s hard to get excited about his winning chances. The $51 on offer is unders. Verdict: Have a glass of wine instead.

CLICK HERE: Winx Stakes field, speed map, odds comparison

9. BRANDENBURG

If a roughie was to run in the top 4, he could be the one. His two runs in Queensland in the winter behind Zaaki were pass marks and the trip north could have really brought him on mentally. His two trials since have been excellent. He’s drawn wide so expect him to push forward. If they don’t go too hard early, he won’t be far off them at the finish. The $41/$9 on offer is more than double his true odds. Verdict: Underrated. Can run top 4.

10. MOUNT POPA

The Hawkes galloper has much bigger targets in store for him this spring but he has plenty of class. From gate 1, he shouldn’t get too far back and he could run a cheeky race, even though 1400m is well short of his best distance. Verdict: Doubt he’ll climb the mountain but can finish within three lengths of the winner.

11. MO’UNGA

We all know this bloke could be anything and it’s exciting to see him back at the track. Who can forget his mind-blowing run in the Randwick Guineas in the autumn. While he wasn’t wearing blinkers, his recent trial posed more questions than answers. There’s no doubting his ability but from barrier 12 where does he end up in the run? He can’t give some of these quality horses too big a headstart. If he can win this, watch out for the spring but he’s hard to have at the $8 on offer. Verdict: Watch and learn.

12. VERRY ELLEEGANT

There aren’t enough superlatives for this outstanding mare who’s won $8.6m prizemoney. She won this race last year but that was on a Soft 6. In this race two years ago, on a Good 4, she ran ninth of 10 and she will get a dry track on Saturday. You’d be crazy to say she can’t win given her champion qualities but $2.90 seems rock bottom. Her big targets are later in the spring so you’d be brave to take the shorts on offer for her first-up tilt in this. Verdict: With a verry big wince … take her on.

Verry Elleegant winning the Winx Stakes last year.Source:Getty Images

13. SHE’S IDEEL

This mare is targeting the Melbourne Cup so she won’t be anywhere near wound up for this over 1400m. From gate 14 she’ll get out the back and will be hoping to pass a couple of runners home in the straight. Verdict: This race is far from ideel.

CLICK HERE: Winx Stakes field, speed map, odds comparison

14. HUNGRY HEART

This pint-sized mare took all before her during the autumn winning back-to-back Group 1s but this is her toughest test. She will land in a good position from barrier 3 and given how tough she is, she will be thereabouts when the whips are cracking. Unless she’s improved out of sight, however, it’s hard to see her troubling the more experienced weight-for-age campaigners in this. Verdict: Place only.

OVERALL VERDICT: 1 (Kolding) — 3 (Cascadian) — 12 (Verry Elleegant) — 9 (Brandenburg).

Originally published asThe Oracle’s runner-by-runner guide: Winx Stakes

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