The Spring is officially in the air with the group one Makybe Stakes meeting at Flemington on Saturday.
The Turnbull Stakes belong to Winx as the champion mare recorded her 21st consecutive victor in an absolute canter on her Flemington debut.
Really, was there any doubt? Coming in as a staggering $1.20 favourite, nobody gave the other 7 competitors a prayer. Eight lengths was the margin at the end. It could have been much more, as she cruised through the opening 1400 metres before scorching the earth with that trademark late burst of speed.
Now all eyes will turn to the Cox Plate, where she will look to win her third straight title at Moonee Valley.
It’s Winx versus half a dozen roughies in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes as the champion mare looks to claim her 21st victory in a row. Join The Roar for live race coverage of the 2,000 metre race from 3pm (AEDT).
The talk of the town, is, of course, Winx, the six-year-old having gone 910 days since her last failure, running in second at the Australian Oaks in April 2015.
Twenty wins later, the last 17 with jockey Hugh Bowman for company, and she has officially reached Roger Federer and Harlem Globetrotters status as an odds-on favourite nobody wants to see lose.
The rest of the draw are, in the eyes of many pundits, simply playing for second, but if there is one horse who could pull off one of the great upsets in racing history, it’s probably Humidor.
The gelding has some serious form on his side, producing a Winx-esque finish to take out the Makybe Diva Stakes last month, with two wins from three starts at Flemington and a similarly great record over the 2,000-metre distance.
However, even trainer Darren Weir has conceded that his charge will be up against it, describing Winx as “good for racing… but not good for us”.
Not exactly confidence-inspiring.
You can never discount any horse with Damien Oliver in the saddle, so keep an eye on Sir Isaac Newton as a potential placer, although his recent form is patchy with a last-start sixth-place finish at the Foundation Cup in September.
The rest of the field is simply thrilled to be there, with Magicool jockey Chris Brown the feel-good story of the race, saddling up for his first ever race at Flemington at the ripe old age of 46.
If you’re looking for a sentimental podium finish, jump on Brown and Magicool, but Ventura Storm might be a safer bet, given his good record over the distance.
But really, this race is about Winx. Win, and it’s just one more chapter to her legacy. Lose, and the racing world might just implode.
3. Sir Isaac Newton
4. Ventura Storm
Will it be a 21st to remember for the champ? Or will someone pull a rabbit out of the hat to claim the most amazing of upsets?
Tune into The Roar’s live blog of the 2017 Turnbull Stakes from 3.00pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.