There were five Group 1’s at Rosehill, including the Golden Slipper, but wonder mare Winx stole the show when she claimed a world record 17th Group One win in taking out the George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Winx is at the luxury odds of $1.25, with Sportsbet, to win her next start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and equal champion sprinter Black Caviar’s run of 25 consecutive wins.
Winx was $1.16 in the Ryder, winning the weight-for-age race for the third time. Winx beat a game Happy Clapper ($21) and smart three-year-old Kementari ($8.50), to surpass American legend John Henry, who set the record in 1984, as the world’s most successful Group One horse.
Kementari remained at the top of Doncaster betting on $4.00 and Sportsbet’s traders tightened Happy Clapper from $8.50 into $5.50. The Doncaster is also an option for D’Argento ($26 into $9.00).
We love you, girl. pic.twitter.com/FHWIQDSb7q
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) March 24, 2018
Any thoughts it gets easier the longer Winx keeps winning were dispelled by her trainer Chris Waller, whose main emotion was relief.
Not so much for the thought she might get beaten, more that she returns safely and does her best.
“I can’t explain it. There has been a bit of pressure leading up to today. She makes my job a lot easier because she does what she does,” Waller said.
Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman made it a Group 1 double when he claimed his first Rosehill Guineas with winner as D’Argento ($3.80 favourite). The tough So You Think colt outstayed his rivals in the three-year-old Classic beating stablemate Tangled ($81), with Furore ($12) third.
D’Argento is the new favourite for the Australian Derby with Bowman saying he would recommend the colt head towards the 2400m race.
Following the win D’Argento firmed from $8.50 into $4.00 favourite for the April 14 Derby. Other firmers are Vin De Dance ($12 into $8.50) and Furore ($15 into $8.00). Deposed Derby favourite Ace High eased from $5.00 to $6.00, but will be better suited at Randwick and on a firmer surface.
With three Group 1’s down it was time for the juveniles to line-up for the feature race, the Golden Slipper.
The most expensive horse in the Slipper, Estijaab ($8.50), won the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, giving trainer John Hawkes a fourth win and jockey Brenton Avdulla his first.
Estijaab wins the @longines Golden Slipper!
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) March 24, 2018
Estijaab cost $1.7 million at the 2017 Easter Sale. The Snitzel filly led from her wide barrier and fought off the fast-finishing Oohood ($17) by a long head with Sunlight ($5.00) finishing third, to make it a trifecta for the fillies.
What an amazing moment yesterday was. Thank you to Team Hawkes and all their staff for the support, hard work and effort they put in. Also big thanks to everyone for their congratulations. A day I will never forget! Estijaab you superstar!!! pic.twitter.com/1UNHoslwbd
— 🇦🇺 BRENTON AVDULLA (@brentonavdulla) March 25, 2018
“They are all different and she doesn’t know how much she cost but it’s good to see the expensive ones win,’’ Hawks said.”
The result was bittersweet for trainer Tony McEvoy, who trained the minor placegetters.
Earlier in the day champion Victoria’s trainer Darren Weir secured his first Group One in Sydney, and now sets his sights on a quick-fire double with Gailo Chop.
Gailo Chop ($2.05 favourite) defied a betting drift for a commanding win in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m). Weir will send Gailo Chop into a quick back-up and return to Rosehill for next Saturday’s Tancred Stakes (2400m).
“I think we’ve got to have a crack. We’re up here now, we’ll push that way with him and see how he goes,” said Weir’s stable representative Jarrod McLean.
“I think he’ll run the trip, there’s no worries with the back-up.”
Gailo Chop bounced back to win the Group One Mackinnon Stakes a week after finishing eighth to Winx in the Cox Plate.
Sportsbet cut Gailo Chop’s price from $3.00 into $2.30 for the Tancred. Single Gaze, a brave second in the race, eased from $5.50 out to $7.50. Prized Icon ran a strong third and firmed from $21 into $11.
Hong Kong based jockey Zac Purton also enjoyed some Group 1 spoils when he claimed the Galaxy on In Her Time a well backed $4.00 favourite. It was the first Group 1 win for In Her Time and the mare beat English ($16) and Viridine ($4.20).
“She’s deserved to win a Group One and now she’s finally got it,” Purton said.