Randwick sees the reign of Winx continue but ‘Grey Flash’ falters

Connor Bennett Roar Guru

By Connor Bennett, Connor Bennett is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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18 Have your say

    She’s been a bit shaky across the start of the season but superstar mare Winx has done it again, flashing from the back to win her 20th race on the trot, but it was a less desireable weekend for sprint sensation Chautauqua on his return to the track.

    Having just turned six years old, Winx was expected to add another notch on the belt leading into the big one later in the Spring Carnival. The Cox Plate.

    And deliver she did, taking out the George Main Stakes, or Colgate Optic White Stakes as it’s known these days, by a length and a half over Happy Clapper.

    The Stakes is the first Group 1 of the season for Randwick and a real starting point for the Spring for racing in New South Wales.

    It wasn’t as convincing a win as she’s had in the past to rack up the double decade of consecutive wins.

    A steady start was expected as jockey Hugh Bowman looked to settle her into the pack, but sitting at the back around six or seven lengths back from the lead hitting the straight was a little concerning.

    Bowman left it with plenty to do in the final few hundred metres but, as always, Winx made it look easy in the end with a blistering final stretch to comfortably snag the win in the end.

    While still a win, it was far from the dominant wins we’ve come to expect from the great mare in recent years, a trend that’s followed the Chris Waller-trained star this season.

    A miracle at the Warwick Stakes a month ago after failing to jump from the barriers would have ended the streak if not for one of the most spectacular comeback wins in Australian racing.

    A huge run from Red Excitement just two weeks ago at the Chelmsford Stakes nearly brought the winning run to an end if not for another late charge by Bowman and Winx.

    The key is that she is continuing to win leading into another charge at the Cox Plate, but that pure dominance and aura of invincibility is disappearing rapidly.

    Bowman has been forced to really drive hard to take the lead late over the past month and it’s not great signs for the future if Winx continues to find herself further back than comfortable running through the final turn.

    Just moments later in the following race at Randwick on Saturday, punters and bookies alike were welcomed with the highly-anticipated return to racing for Chautauqua.

    The gelding known as ‘Grey Flash’ last took the track to race in April with an unbelievable run at the TJ Smith Stakes.

    The seven-year-old blitzed the field from 15th and dead last with just 350 metres to go, pulling out a ridiculous run to take it by half a head at the post over English.

    With all eyes looking towards the new mega-race The Everest in mid-October at Randwick, Chautauqua has been shaping up as a top pick for the world’s richest turf race.

    While running at a slightly shorter 1,100 metres on Saturday, the Hawkes family-trained gelding was expected to produce the goods once again to add to his 24 place finish and wins from 29 races.

    A terrible jump and start had him trailing out the back by three lengths early on in the race and it was tough going from there.

    Holding out at the back for the most part, jockey Brenton Avdulla tried to reign the field back in with another trademark sprint finish but it wasn’t to be.

    Coming out the left side of the pack from dead last with a few hundred metres to go, he could only reel in a couple of stragglers at the back to finish in the bottom three, taking a disappointing seventh on return.

    Redzel stormed to victory and is heading to The Everest with momentum and plenty of favouritism as well.

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • September 18th 2017 @ 8:35am
      Roger said | September 18th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      Completely disagree in regards to Chaq.

      Winning on Saturday was never going to be the goal. Peaking third up for the Everest is the goal. Racing is always about reaching the grand finals.

      Horse was 12L off in running and has been beaten 2.2 lengths by a fellow Everest runner Redzel. Another 100m he at least finishes 2nd.

      Avdulla after the race “Terrific, obviously a month until the grand final, couldn’t be happier. If it was 1200 metres today he probably runs over the top of them,”

      Horse is absolutely flying and will be cherry ripe for the Everest. Perfect first up hit out.

      • September 18th 2017 @ 9:15am
        Peeeko said | September 18th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        Sprinters don’t usually need warm ups. I also think avdullas 1200m extrapolation is inaccurate

        • September 18th 2017 @ 9:32am
          Roger said | September 18th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          A 7yo who has been plain his last few first up runs, with his racing pattern, almost certainly is going to need a run or 2.

          This isn’t any “usual” horse.

          • Roar Guru

            September 18th 2017 @ 3:06pm
            Connor Bennett said | September 18th 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

            Isn’t that the point of barrier trials 😉

    • September 18th 2017 @ 10:28am
      Adam Page said | September 18th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Not sure what race you were watching re The Shorts. Chautauqua was one of the runs of the day, broke 11 seconds for every furlong from the 600m. And to say disappointing? 100% wrong.

      • September 18th 2017 @ 1:26pm
        Scuba said | September 18th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

        Yeah, hard to know how he could have done more given that he ran his last 600 in 32.09. Betting market clearly suggested he wasn’t wound up. Slow (for the grade) early section meant his task was impossible, but that is unlikely to be repeated with speed horses like Russian Revolution and SWR to be added to the mix.

        Great trial for the $10m race.

    • September 18th 2017 @ 10:55am
      michael steel said | September 18th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      I backed Chautaqua on Saturday because $5.00 was irresistable, but the reality is for such a good horse his first up form is ordinary and I was aware of that. However, I thought it was a great run.

      • September 18th 2017 @ 12:49pm
        Razzar said | September 18th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        The smallish field size worked against The Chau on Saturday. The blistering time made it impossible for him to win. His backmarker winning style has worked in the past, but his win strike rate has been faultering, plus with the new kids on the block, Redzel and Redkirk warrior, his task of winning the Everest looks a touch harder now IMHO.

        • September 18th 2017 @ 6:57pm
          Not so super said | September 18th 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

          You contradicted yourself
          A big field means a quick time
          By going fast yesterday the race was set up for him

          • September 18th 2017 @ 8:50pm
            Razzar said | September 18th 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

            Not So Super at 1100 though. At 1200 YES.

    • September 18th 2017 @ 11:10am
      Kangajets said | September 18th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

      Chataqua ran the best final 600 m of the day

      Explain how that’s a flop for the grey flash ?

      Back to u Connor…!!

    • September 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm
      Chris said | September 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

      Chautauqua – what race were you watching?? Hand in your licence Connor – you are a novice not a self proclaimed guru – no idea!!

      The way the big grey ran through the line was awesome – he’ll eat up another 1200m at Randwick on this form when leaders are running sub 11 splits first 800m in The Everest.

      Sure he’ll give them a start but no horse in that field will match him for finishing speed at wfa if he’s on his game and the track is playing fair.

      Vega Magic, Redkirk Warrior and Brave Smash are his biggest worries – Hayes pair are flying and ratings are certainly good enough – Brave Smash holds the x factor if he’s ridden off pace on what he showed first time at Caulfield – too close around the Valley but had to be ridden that way on the day.

      • Roar Guru

        September 18th 2017 @ 2:53pm
        Connor Bennett said | September 18th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        I’ll have to see if I can be downgraded mate!

        You’re not wrong, he ran through the final stretch better than any other in the field, but surely, you can’t tell me that their goal was to finish third last on return?

        As much of a lead up run as it was coming from the spell, finishing third last was not the result they would have wanted.

        The final sector time is a great sign that he’s up right for the leadup to Everest, but the race is longer than the final stretch and he didn’t run a complete race… hence the result.

        I’m not saying Grey Flash ran the worst 1,100 metres in the history of racing, I’m just saying it could have, and in my opinion should have, been a better day on the track for him.

        • September 18th 2017 @ 3:30pm
          no one in particular said | September 18th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

          He finished the same distance behind Super Cash first up last prep. Redzel goes a touch better than Super Cash

        • September 18th 2017 @ 3:56pm
          Roger said | September 18th 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

          You seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on running “3rd last”.

          It was a 9 horse race with not even a length separating 2nd-7th.

          “finishing third last was not the result they would have wanted” – The result was irrelevant, they would of wanted to see him travel well in the race, and run blazing late sectionals savaging the line. Hence, a success.

          I am actually confused how anyone could think that wasn’t a good return.

          • September 18th 2017 @ 7:21pm
            Adam Page said | September 18th 2017 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

            They ran a track record. It was mathematically impossible for him to win. He would have had to run nearly sub 31 for his final 600m…can’t be done. If you saw him in the mounting yard, it was clear he was nowhere near wound up. For him to get that close was outstanding and the big grin from Michael Hawkes post race tells me it was a big tick

    • September 19th 2017 @ 9:19am
      Blake said | September 19th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      I liked Chautauqua’s run more than Winx’s.

      She is busting a gut to beat average fields. She looks like she needs a freshen up. Big question mark over winning a high pressure Cox Plate for her. She won’t be able plod along out the back in that race and run over the top of them.

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