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2021 Winx Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

The first Group One of the season is finally here and we have analysed the race to provide you with a runner by runner preview and our best Winx Stakes tips for the 2021 race. Verry Elleegant tops the market at $2.90 (via Sportsbet on Thursday afternoon), but can anyone topple the champion mare?

The final field of 14 horses has eight that have won at group one level, while 13 of the horses, all except Kolding, will tackle the race first up. 

1. Kolding (10) – $5
Jockey – Tim Clark
Trainer – Chris Waller

Was quite ordinary when resuming in the G2 1200m Missile Stakes, settling in the first pair with Fasika but being out-run down the straight, finishing 1.5L off the pace in 5th. That run doesn’t give much confidence heading into this race, however he is the second most decorated in the race, behind Verry Elleegant, and has conditions to suit. He is 6:2-2-0 at this track/distance, loves a good track and has won second up previously. Can you forgive him for his first up run?

2. Think It Over (2) – $8.50
Jockey – Brenton Avdulla
Trainer – Kerry Parker

A very interesting runner here and one that seems to be forgotten about in the odds quite regularly – going around at $51, $20, $26 and $21 last prep for two wins (including the G1 1500m George Ryder), one second and a fourth. Think It Over thrives when running fresh, winning three times and coming second twice from six runs, including winning the G3 1300m Liverpool City Cup last prep, ahead of talented Godolphin – Criaderas. He then went on to finish only 1.5L off Verry Elleegant in the Queen Elizabeth later that preparation, highlighting his rise in class but could he cause the upset in this? Definitely worth including in exotics at a minimum.

3. Cascadian (7) – $10
Jockey – Hugh Bowman
Trainer – James Cummings

Broke through for his maiden Group One victory in the Autumn, winning the Doncaster Mile on a Soft6 but seems to be a bit of a cat for punters. The track conditions are the key there, considering Cascadian has only won once from 11 starts on a good surface. He’s won twice at the track and won twice at the distance, but hasn’t won first up from four preparations in Australia and might be a step behind some of these under weight-for-age conditions. Could be a chance if there is a massive backmarker bias?

4. Dreamforce (11) – $16
Jockey – Nash Rawiller
Trainer – John Thompson

It will be a massive blow for Dreamforce if Rawiller doesn’t get up from his injury (laceration to his foot and suspected broken toe) he sustained on Thursday. One of the big positives for the nine-year-old is that he was one of only two horses to have at least 10 runs with their jockey, the other being Verry Elleegant, however he has only won 1 of 7 races since his George Ryder win in the 2020 Autumn season. He will dictate his own race, going to the front from the wide draw but does he still possess the turn-of-foot to hold off those behind him in a race of this quality, especially under weight-for-age conditions.

5. Imaging (6) – $20
Jockey – Kathy O’Hara
Trainer – Chris Waller

Happy to look elsewhere. Imaging has won just 1 of 13 runs in Australia and hasn’t won since March 2020, where he won the G2 1500m Ajax Stakes on a Heavy9. His trial looked ordinary and won’t be able to make up enough ground to be a contender.

6. Star Of The Seas (11) – $26
Jockey – Jay Ford
Trainer – Chris Waller

Star Of The Seas was a nose off going into this race as the defending champion. almost beating his stablemate, Verry Elleegant, in a photo finish in last year’s run. While that was an exceptional run and did well coming from the back, he is yet to win at Group One level and has just two wins from his last four preparations. While Jay Ford isn’t a top line jockey choice, he has ridden this gelding on three occasions, winning twice. He has a good record first up and on good tracks, but can he recreate his run from last year?

7. Keiai Nautique (4) – $51
Jockey – Glen Boss
Trainer – Matthew Smith

The most intriguing runner in the race, Keiai Nautique runs his first run in Australia. The full brother of Fierce Impact has had an unfortunate time in Japan lately, forcing connections to bring him across to Australia, under the care of Matthew Smith, in hope of a turn of fortune. He has won at Group One level, but that was in May 2018 and he hasn’t won since from 17 runs, only placing in one of those as well. Glen Boss is a positive jockey selection but it is best to be looking elsewhere, especially when Smith has already said he just wants to have a look at how he goes. 

8. Master Of Wine (8) – $51
Jockey – Regan Bayliss
Trainer – M, W & J Hawkes

Master Of Wine was supposed to become one of the next superstars of Australian racing after an excited preparation during the 2020 Autumn Carnival but couldn’t fire a shot last season. The gelding ran in eight straight Group Ones, with a 0.8L fifth in the G1 Turnbull Stakes being his best return. He then finished last prep by dropping back to Group Three level where he finished 3.3L back in third despite jumping as $2.25 favourite. 

9. Brandenburg (13) – $41
Jockey – Rachel King
Trainer – John Sargent

Brandenburg is always a very honest performer but doesn’t quite have the class to match it with a quality field like this. He ran in this race last year and actually had Verry Elleegant’s back at the 350m mark but ended up finishing 5.3L off the pace. The one positive is that his best career win to date, the G2 Hobartville, was over this distance and he was first up in that, but it was also 18 months ago and on a soft surface, which he prefers. 

10. Mount Popa (1) – $35
Jockey – Joshua Parr
Trainer – M, W & J Hawkes

It will be very interesting to see how Mount Popa returns this preparation, however there are very little expectations of a top finish in this race. The Irish import has already secured a Caulfield Cup entry by winning the listed Mornington Cup in the Autumn and will work his way into that race slowly, meaning this could be a more competitive trial for him. He has never actually raced at group level before and will find this too sharp, especially under weight-for-age conditions. 

11. Mo’unga (12) – $8
Jockey – Tommy Berry
Trainer – Annabel Neasham

Mo’unga is a very exciting four-year-old that has a sky high ceiling and could be a big name player in the years to come. Looking at this race, he genuinely has a chance to take it up to the older horses and make a name for himself. He finished just 2.1L off Verry Elleegant in the Queen Elizabeth as a three-year-old and all reports say that he has improved in his time off. He has two wins and a third at 1400m, and one of those was first up last Spring in a BM64. While you may scoff at the quality of race that he was in, his time was just 1.37s slower than Verry Elleegant’s win in the Winx Stakes and a year is a long time, especially for an horse that is maturing from three to four. Drawing the 12 of 14 definitely hurts but he typically goes back in runs anyway, it is just whether he can make up the distance under weight-for-age conditions. 

12. Verry Elleegant (5) – $2.90
Jockey – James McDonald
Trainer – Chris Waller

The 8x Group One winner tops the market as Verry Elleegant prepares to defend her crown in the race. While it wasn’t pretty last year, she still managed to get over the line first and set up an exceptional Spring Carnival. However, there are plenty of questions heading into this race that don’t justify taking the price she currently is. The mare has won just two of her 12 starts on a good surface and has won just one of her six first up runs, last year’s Winx Stakes. Will she find this too sharp on a hard deck, especially when there are some other horses who suit the conditions much better? If Rawiller doesn’t end up riding Dreamforce, James McDonald will be the only jockey in the race to have more than seven rides on their horse, and the JMac/Waller combination is clearly one to follow. Can you take her at her price?

14. She’s Ideel (14) – $91
Jockey – Jason Collett
Trainer – Bjorn Baker

While She’s Ideel has come on massively over the last 12 months and is a genuine chance for her target races later in the Spring Carnival, The Metropolitan and Melbourne Cup, she has no chance in this one. Drawing the car park in a race that was already going against her, being on a good surface and too short, doesn’t help either. 

14. Hungry Heart (3) – $17
Jockey – Kerrin McEvoy
Trainer – Chris Waller

Hungry Heart rounds out the pack, carrying the lightest weight and getting very good conditions for a run that should out-do her current odds. The Waller-trained mare has had eight runs on good surfaces for four wins and three seconds, whilst also relishing the Randwick track, two wins and three seconds from seven runs. The query is that this is too short for her, but if she has come along like she’s expected to, she could be a serious player in this. 

Final Word

This race seems to be set up nicely for Verry Elleegant. Barrier 5 gives her the run of the race and she should settle in a great spot with plenty of cover. Adding to factors in her favour, Waller has trained five of the last 10 winners, two horses have been able to win the race back to back over the last 10 years, favourites have won five of the last 10 and horses with a barrier of five or lower have won six of the last 10. 

However, there are multiple in this race that suit the conditions better, whether it be on a good surface or running first up. Kolding had no excuses for his first up run but is a proven 1400m runner, especially on a good track. The two four-year-olds, Mo’unga and Hungry Heart, both enjoy running on good surfaces, have limitless potential and could cause an upset. Think It Over is always over the odds, has incredible first up figures of 6:3-2-0 and prefers a good deck, which he’ll get. 

In saying that, Verry Elleegant is clearly the class horse in the race, has JMac sticking onboard and her run in the Turnbull last Spring, on a good track, should disprove any of those concerns. Hopefully she drifts on the day but with Sportsbet offering bonus back up to 3rd and PointsBet offering bonus back up to 4th, you should be safe to either win or get a bonus back as a worst case scenario. 

Best Winx Stakes Tip: Verry Elleegant – Win ($2.90)

If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Winx Stakes page for all your punting needs!

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Sportsbet.