On The Watch

Brilliant Sectional Times Highlight Winx’s Stunning Return To Racing

Ridden forward by leading jockey Hugh Bowman, due to the likelihood of a moderate early tempo, Winx settled comfortably in second place before producing a dazzling final 600 metre sprint that saw her take out the Warwick Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) and record her tenth successive win.

Having her first start since taking out the Doncaster Mile (Gr 1, 1600m) at Randwick in April, Winx won easily by three and a half lengths from the Godolphin-raced Hartnell (Authorized), with early leader Rebel Dane (California Dane) holding on for third, just under a length further back.

Time for the first 800 metres of the race was a very steady 51.16 (12.79 200m rate), with Winx travelling comfortably outside of Rebel Dane.

On reaching the 600 metres, the tempo increased markedly, with Winx producing brilliant 200 metre sections of 10.98, 10.64 and 11.05, for a final 600 metres in 32.67.

“I don’t think she’s been as quick under me as she was today when I let her go,” Bowman said.

“When she let down, it was a special feeling and I’m looking forward to the feeling again.”

Winx, now a five-year-old, has raced 20 times for 14 wins, including six at Group One level, and three seconds for career earnings of $6,830,425.

Although outclassed by Winx, both the runner-up Hartnell and fourth-placed Lucia Valentina (Savabeel) staged encouraging returns and ought to find further improvement over longer trips.

Hartnell ran on well from fourth at the 600 metres and was clocked to run that section in a very smart 32.95 while Lucia Valentina ran on well to be beaten just over four lengths, clocking 33.13 for her final 600 metres.

While leading trainer Chris Waller has Winx set for more major contests this preparation, he also produced a lightly-raced but most promising filly in Omei Sword (High Chaparral) at Randwick on Saturday, who, even at this early stage, looks a potential Group One performer.

Having only her fourth start and her first run since April, Omei Sword was settled nicely by Brenton Avdulla in sixth place, one off the rails, before she moved up well nearing the home turn.

She swept to the front at the 200 metres and then raced away for a most impressive three and a quarter length win in the Silver Shadow Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m).

Timed from the 1000 metre point, Omei Sword returned 200 metre sections of 10.78, 11.09 (400m in 21.87), 11.31 (600m in 33.18), 11.09 (800m in 44.27) and 11.53 for an impressive final 1000 metre time of 56.80.

Omei Sword clearly looks suited to further, supported by a standout pedigree, being by High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells) and out of the Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Irish Lights (Fastnet Rock), and it is easy to see this filly becoming a force this preparation.

The runner-up, the Arrowfield-raced and Gary Moore-trained filly Bacarella (Beneteau), also deserves acknowledgement.

Having only her third start, Bacarella challenged at the 200 metres and then fought on well for a good second, and, although having no chance with the winner, she is clearly a lightly-raced and promising filly.

In a day of impressive first-up winners at Randwick, the Team Hawkes-trained colt Divine Prophet (Choisir) outlined his credentials for a noteworthy spring campaign with a brilliant last-to-first victory in the Up And Coming Stakes (Gr, 3, 1300m).

Having his first run since finishing third behind Prized Icon (More Than Ready) in the ATC Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) in April, Divine Prophet went back from his outside barrier (9) and remained in last place until reaching the 300 metre point.

Jockey Tommy Berry then switched him deeper and Divine Prophet came with a brilliant late finish to overhaul the Victorian-trained colt Derryn (Hinchinbrook) to score by a short neck, seemingly with something in hand.

Timed from the 1200 metres, Divine Prophet returned 200 metre sections of 11.18, 11.34 (400m in 22.52), 11.51 (600m 34.03), 11.66 (800m in 45.69), 10.95 (1000m in 56.64) and 11.13 for a fast final 1200 metre time of 1:07.77, run on a track rated at that stage of the day as Soft 5.

It was only Divine Prophet’s fourth race start and clearly this lightly-raced colt has considerable potential for further improvement as he too heads into the spring carnival. He looks capable of making his mark in Group One races.

Though probably not destined for Group One class, another to impress on the watch was the Les Bridge-trained four-year-old gelding Southern Legend (Not A Single Doubt) who scored a very smart first-up win in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1000m) in the last of nine races at Randwick.

Remaining in tenth place to the home turn, Southern Legend produced an impressive turn of foot to grab a short head victory over the Godolphin-raced gelding Haptic (Exceed And Excel) in the quick time of 56.85 for the 1000 metre journey.

Clocked from the 800 metre point, Southern Legend returned 200 metre sections of 10.66, 10.69 (400m in 21.35), 10.67 (600m in 32.02) and 11.23 for his last 200 metres, giving him a fast final 800 metre time of 43.25.

Southern Legend has been patiently handled by Bridge and Saturday was only the four-year-old gelding’s sixth start and was his fourth win to date – judging by his sectionals there are many more wins in store for this under-rated gelding.

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