Eight runners have been confirmed in the final field for Saturday’s 2016 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick; undoubtedly highlighted by the second appearance of champion mare Winx this season.
Winx returned to racing for her tenth-consecutive race win in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, and has reportedly only improved from the classy and comfortably victory.
Resuming last spring for success in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m), the Street Cry mare progressed to wins in each of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and of course, her resounding triumph over a talent-rich field in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Having resumed in autumn for success in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m), Winx subsequently posted wins in each of the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Winx has been allocated the outside barrier, but has been confirmed to be partnered by Hugh Bowman and should just be too good for her rivals on Saturday.
Trainer Chris Waller has dominated the 2016 Chelmsford Stakes field after confirming a total of six of the eight runners, including Spiritjim and Who Shot Thebarman.
Beginning his career aboard in France, where he competed in races like the Group 1 Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m), Spiritjim arrived in Australia for seventh place finishes in each of the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in winter.
The Galileo entire will likely require the run on Saturday to find peak form, but he is drawn well to find a position off pace in barrier 6.
Who Shot Thebarman is a runner that will benefit from more distance, but the gelding has shown several times that he is capable of a smart performance early in his preparations.
Running second in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) and fourth in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) most notably in autumn, the son of Yamanin Vital ran sixth in the Warwick Stakes first-up this time.
A three-year-old has not won the Chelmsford Stakes since Mighty Kingdom saluted in 1979, but trainer James Cummings is looking to overcome the trend after confirming Prized Icon in the Group 2 field.
A standout through the recent autumn season, Prized Icon finished third in the Group 3 Black Opal Stakes (1200m) and second in the Group 3 The Schweppervescence (1400m) before taking out each of the Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Sure to have taken plenty of benefit from a first-up run for fourth in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) a fortnight ago, the More Than Ready colt will carry only 50.5kgs in the Chelmsford Stakes and will leave from barrier 5.
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2016 Champagne Stakes Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||1907x4110x||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||7||59kg||115|
|2||01x90324x6||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||4||59kg||111|
|3||4x4650x5x2||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||2||59kg||110|
|4||03x08533x7||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||3||59kg||108|
|5||32314x797x||STORM THE STARS (USA)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||1||59kg||108|
|6||447204x77x||SPIRITJIM (FR)||Chris Waller||Rory Hutchings||6||59kg||107|
|7||111x1111x1||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||8||57kg||123|
|8||3x323211x4||PRIZED ICON||James Cummings||Ms Kathy O’Hara||5||50.5kg||88|