Winx returns, Hart vs Bart in PB Lawrence, and Frankel gets an Aussie winner

Tristan Rayner Editor

By Tristan Rayner, Tristan Rayner is a Roar Editor

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    Will Winx secure her third Cox Plate in a row? (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

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    Winx makes her glorious return this weekend in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick. She won’t be beaten.

    I can say that with confidence. It’s Winx. But also, depending on final acceptances, it doesn’t look like she’ll be racing against too much either, just like last year.

    2016’s Warwick Stakes saw Chris Waller enter four of the seven-horse field. Winx might face just three or four horses from other stables in a replica of last year’s race, in which Waller provided all bar three of the seven-horse field.

    While there are ten acceptances at this stage, it’s likely to only be seven or eight horses in the final field as they duck and weave the mare.

    We’ll see some racing favourites like Who Shot Thebarman winding up for another big staying spring, and stablemate Antonio Giuseppe as well – but they’ll be in Winx’s wake, unless something goes very, very wrong.

    Unlike last year, Hartnell won’t be there – wisely avoiding the great mare’s likely 18th consecutive win as he takes on the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield in an intriguing race.

    Winx will be a must-watch for racing fans of course, but the PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) offers a real dogfight.

    We’ll likely see six Darren Weir runners including Black Hart Bart, Tosen Stardom, Gailo Chop, Humidor and Amelie’s Star.

    Montoya’s Secret is also entered for Leon and Troy Corstens, back from a spell after his Group 1 Vinery Stud (200m) win at Rosehill. Vega Magic, the Goodwood winner, is also entered.

    But it’ll likely be the battle of the seven-year-old geldings: Black Hart Bart and Hartnell. The Melbourne Cup third-placer is now trained by James Cummings, and the battle between he and Bart is likely only an appetiser as they both head towards the Group 1 Memsie Stakes in early September.

    Bart is an impressive four from four at the 1400m at Caulfield, with three of those at Group 1 level, and goes well first-up. They’ve clashed before in the Cox Plate, but it’s a different story without Winx.

    The pair can’t be split in betting before final acceptances, with Tosen Stardom in single figures. If you prefer anything else in the race you will get a decent price!


    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Frankel’s first winner in Australia
    The Frankel sire phenomenon keeps throwing up winners – stupidly early Melbourne Cup favourite Francis of Assisi was given a thrashing by one of his in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (2011m) over the weekend.

    You can watch Racing UK give a strangely muddled explanation of that race here.

    But Frankel got his first winner in Australia, with the $1.6m colt Merovee winning a maiden at Newcastle for Waller, with Hugh Bowman on board.

    Legendofoz, a Fastnet Rock colt, was an impressive second to beat the rest by more than four lengths.

    Sure, Tuesday maidens at Newcastle aren’t usually where we see Stakes or Group-level horses starting a Group 1 career but big things are expected from Merovee. We’ll see him face harder races in future.

    Geoffrey Freer Stakes this weekend holds Cups interest
    For the Melbourne Cup fans, the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2671m) at Newbury is run on August 19 (3:05pm local time) and sees a few horses that are keen to get into the race that stops a nation take part.

    One of those is Wall Of Fire, trained by Hugo Palmer and owned by Australian Racing Stables. Palmer confirmed to me that the owners are hopeful of heading towards a Melbourne Spring Carnival attempt so he’ll need to run well.

    He might need to be very good, though. Wall Of Fire will likely take on Defoe, a fine colt who has won three from three for trainer Roger Varian and will probably be a short-priced favourite.

    Charlie Appleby-trained Frontiersman will also contest the race, along with 2015 winner Agent Murphy, a horse that hasn’t been seen in nearly two years and was once a Melbourne Cup hopeful for trainer Brian Meehan.

    The other piece of Cup-related news is that the Charlie Appelby-trained Scottish, who was second in the 2016 Caulfield Cup, injured himself in a gallop before the Arlington Millions. Scottish will be spelled over the rest of the year to recover, which rules him out of a second trip to Australia this time around.

    With Jameka injured as well, and Almoonqith sadly no longer with us, only Exospheric out of the top four finishers of 2016 is a chance of lining up again in 2017.

    Tristan Rayner
    Tristan Rayner

    Tristan is a writer, consultant, racing enthusiast and former Editor of The Roar who has turned the Melbourne Cup into a year-round study via

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • August 16th 2017 @ 9:08am
      Razzar said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      The PB Lawrence looks one hell of a race. Black hart Bart is at his fav track. But so many runners fresh for this, and all another year older to scramble the egg a little more. Don’t think there would be much dist between the first 5 or 6 over line.

      At least doing a speed map in this race shouldn’t be all that testing, compared to some.

      Only two hours before final field… Hurry!

    • Roar Guru

      August 17th 2017 @ 8:53am
      kv joef said | August 17th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      This weekend not only has Winx returning but Arrogate racing in the Pacific at Del Mar. Baffert, Arrogate’s HoF trainer, reckoned Arrogate was underdone by his fitness and his first-up 16L defeat would be reversed in what is looking like a San Diego S. rematch. I thought he clocked off when they quickened … may getting coached by Pakistan Star.

      I think Winx has every chance this year to be officially recognised as this years WBH, an accolade she should have received last year. Anyway, we’ll see how the weekend turns out.

      The Warwick Stks is a race with a nice feel, could be nice speed in it. Good race for the return of Foxplay, a filly/mare i’ve always liked and should be able to get a spring guide on her.

      PBLawerence is too hard for me – a potpourri of quality, fitness and distance-range.

      Nice pickup about the Geoffrey Freer Tristan – will be a race of interest ahead of the MCup weight release on 12/09. Also noted is that Order Of St.George will go around at the Curragh this weekend in the St. Ledger Trial …

      • Editor

        August 18th 2017 @ 1:29am
        Tristan Rayner said | August 18th 2017 @ 1:29am | ! Report

        Kv’s back!

        I saw Mr D Beirne suggest that Winx would need to win by 10+ lengths to get past Arrogate off this one race, and if he did that he’d be sacked. So it might come, in time, but not just yet.

        ‘A potpourri’ is wonderful, I might borrow that in time.

        Thanks for the Order of St. George note too, I’ll keep an eye out.

        • Editor

          August 20th 2017 @ 2:17am
          Tristan Rayner said | August 20th 2017 @ 2:17am | ! Report

          Wall Of Fire grabbed second in the Geoffrey Freer. Should be enough to qualify him for the Cup – unsure of exactly what weight he’ll be given.

        • Roar Guru

          August 20th 2017 @ 9:18am
          kv joef said | August 20th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          it was good effort. Defoe is a promising horse and Frontiersman already with runs on the board. Reckon at the moment WoF would get around 52/3kgs depending on who gets nom’d. Order of StGeorge put 5 in them in ireland as expected … less than 2 hrs to go to see whether Arrogate has regained form …

          • Roar Guru

            August 20th 2017 @ 9:37am
            kv joef said | August 20th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

            Forgot — Red Cardinal (Wohler / AuBloodstock) won the Prix Kergorlay following the same path as Protectionist. Just can’t get excited about him at the moment even though his last two have been solid staying efforts.

            • Editor

              August 21st 2017 @ 5:07am
              Tristan Rayner said | August 21st 2017 @ 5:07am | ! Report

              Yes agree on WoF around that 52/53 kgs mark.

              Arrogate ain’t bad but he ain’t the Arrogate we once knew!

              Red Cardinal didn’t do much in the Prix Kergolay for his fifth placing. I wouldn’t say he was too disappointing given he ran at the back and then down the straight whacked away without being asked for the supreme effort. Let’s face it, a win would’ve certified him on ~58kgs and it wasn’t his grand final but a top three would’ve been a nice to have…

    • Roar Guru

      August 17th 2017 @ 11:20pm
      kv joef said | August 17th 2017 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

      forgot to say hello to my girl ….

    • Roar Guru

      August 21st 2017 @ 8:22am
      kv joef said | August 21st 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Least someones reading the stuff LOL. Yes Red Cardinal’s run was another dour effort after his Belmont win.

      It is a shame about Arrogate, the spark is certainly currently deminished. These last two races were little better than soft G2s. He seems to be suffering a similar fate to CalChrome after his first Dubai when Sherman had to park him for a year to get him right. With Almanzor getting beaten FU last Tuesday. Seems all the champs from last year are getting rolled … except one 🙂 .

      They are talking about retiring Almanzor – a little hasty i think. the race was a ridiculous affair and i thought he didn’t to too bad. Never been crisp FU but i’ve always thought he is vuneralable at the11/2 miles of the Arc … may Champions Day at Ascot is a better option … if they keep going with him.

      weekend lowlight was watching Lankan Rupee bust on the turn in the Spring Stks. I think Mick Price’s is making the right decisions with him.

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