It's one big race after another, after another March 18 at Rosehill Gardens outside Sydney but the main focus will be on—who else?—Winx.
Winx, who is tied with Arrogate in the Longines World's Best Racehorse rankings, will seek her 16th straight win in the China Horse Club George Ryder Stakes (G1) at 1,500 meters. The opposition includes, among others, Le Romain and Chautauqua, who finished first and second, just a nose apart, in the Canterbury Stakes (G1) going 1,200 meters two weeks ago at Royal Randwick. Hauraki was farther back in third in the Canterbury and is back for another try.
Hartnell has had a good view from behind as Winx captured two straight runnings of the Cox Plate (G1). But he had a tough go against the super mare in their last start, finishing eighth in the TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (G1) at Randwick, nine lengths behind the winner.
Hartnell stretches out from 1,600 meters to 2,000 for Saturday's Ranvet Stakes (G1) but runs into Preferment and Stratum Star, among others, in that event. Preferment has been in a funk as of late and finished last in the Chipping Norton, while Stratum Star returns on just a week's rest after finishing fourth in the group 1 Australian Cup.
More than 230 2-year-olds were nominated for the Longines Golden Slipper (G1). It's no wonder, as the prestige of a victory in the 1,200-meter dash is nearly as important as the purse of AUS$3.5 million (US$2.65 million). There are a couple undefeated fillies in the field of 16—Catchy, a daughter of Fastnet Rock who won the Blue Diamond (GI) at Caulfield, and Houtzen, a New Zealand-bred filly by I Am Invincible.
Also on the card is the Nathan's Famous Hotdogs Galaxy Stakes (G1) at 1,100 meters, and the Rosehill Guineas (G1), which has a substantial field that includes recent Australian Guineas (G1) second Prized Icon, Randwick Guineas (G1) winner Inference, and New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts.