Artist’s work something to behold
CRACK colt Trapeze Artist 's brilliant All Aged Stakes win ensured he joined very elite company by becoming only the third multiple Group 1 winner of this year's Sydney autumn carnival.
There were 22 Group 1 races over the eight weeks of the carnival with Trapeze Artist claiming the TJ Smith-All Aged Stakes double, the first three-year-old to achieve the feat.
Trapeze Artist's value as a potential stallion prospect has soared to more than $40 million now but connections are still keen to keep the sprinter racing for another season and target the $13 million The Everest at Royal Randwick in October.
The only other horses to win more than once at racing's elite level during the autumn were the mighty mare Winx, a three-time Group 1 winner of the Chipping Norton Stakes, George Ryder Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and fan favourite Happy Clapper, winner of the Canterbury Stakes and Doncaster Mile.
The All Aged Stakes was the final Group 1 race of the carnival with Winx's trainer Chris Waller preparing the most major race winners with six including Who Shot Thebarman (Sydney Cup), D'Argento (Rosehill Guineas) and Unforgotten (ATC Australian Oaks).
Trainers Pat Webster (Happy Clapper) and Gerald Ryan (Trapeze Artist) both had two Group 1 winners, as did Godolphin's James Cummings with Kementari (Randwick Guineas) and Alizee (Coolmore Legacy Stakes), Ben Smith from In Her Time (The Galaxy) and El Dorado Dreaming (ATC Sires Produce Stakes), and Mick Price with Hiyaam (Vinery Stud Stakes) and Seabrook (Champagne Stakes).
NSW trainers prepared the winners of 17 Group 1 races over autumn with Victorian trainers, led by Price, winning five majors.
Hugh Bowman was the carnival's leading Group 1 jockey with five wins - the Winx treble, D'Argento and Unforgotten.
Blake Shinn was next with three wins on Happy Clapper (twice) and Who Shot The Barman, Tye Angland won two majors on Trapeze Artist, Glyn Schofield rode Kementari and Alizee, and Mark Zahra won twice on Gailo Chop (Ranvet Stakes) and Levendi (ATC Australian Derby).
WINX THREEPEAT LOOMS TO JOIN CAVIAR
Winx was at very short odds to win the award before her Queen Elizabeth Stakes triumph last week but there is no betting now.
Sydney's super mare has completed her third successive unbeaten season and extended her winning streak to 25 races, ensuring she earns Australian racing's ultimate honour again when the Horse of the Year awards are announced in September.
Black Caviar (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13) won three Horse of the Year titles in a row, a feat matched only by Sunline (1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02).
GOOD MOVE TO TIE DOWN THE WINX NAME
The Warwick Stakes, a 1400m weight-for-age sprint held at Royal Randwick in August, will be renamed the Winx Stakes and elevated to Group 1 level when it is run later this year.
Winx has won this race the last two years but trainer Chris Waller and her owners are not guaranteeing the champion will resume in the race named in her honour in August.
When Winx does race next she will be attempting to break the record of most consecutive wins she currently shares with Black Caviar, setting a new mark that is certain to stand the test of time.
But Winx is probably most vulnerable when racing over at distances up to 1400m so maybe Waller may consider waiting for a 1600m race like the Chelmsford Stakes to kick-off the mare's spring campaign.
Winx did resume over 1600m this autumn, winning the Chipping Norton Stakes effortlessly.
EMOTIONAL TRAINER'S FITTING TRIBUTE
TRAINER Todd Howlett dedicated Nic's Vendetta's exciting TAB Highway win to his ailing mother-in-law, Marie Samways.
An emotional Howlett revealed his seriously ill mother-in-law is an avid racing fan and hoped the Randwick win would help lift her spirits.
WEIR TAKES DOWN WORLD'S BEST
MIKAYLA Weir, the 24-year-old apprentice, can boast she was able to beat the world's top-rated jockey, Hugh Bowman, in the tight TAB Highway finish.
Weir's 3kg claim worked to her advantage and she took the shortest way home on Nic's Vendetta, hugging the rails and diving through inside Bowman's mount, Ori On Fire to win narrowly.
TOUGHEST JOB MADE LOOK EASY
THE ATC's track staff led by manager Lindsay Murphy, Nevesh Ramdhani (Randwick) and Shaun Patterson (Rosehill) deserve credit for producing racing surfaces free of any bias during the autumn carnival.
Sydney's dry autumn weather has certainly helped track preparation with most carnival meetings held on surfaces rated in the good range.
The final Group 1 meeting of the season at Royal Randwick last Saturday was run on a good 3 surface.
The two days of The Championships earlier this month was on tracks rated as good 4.
When the autumn carnival began with Winx winning the Chipping Norton Stakes back on March 3, the Randwick track was a soft 5.
The only other Sydney Saturday meeting when the surface wasn't a good 4 or firmer was for Golden Slipper Day (March 24) when the Rosehill track was rated a soft 7.
PROVINCIAL MEETING TO BE SOMETHING SPECIAL
HAWKESBURY'S 13th stand-alone race day boasts record prizemoney of $1.2 million next Saturday.
The picturesque provincial track's nine-race program features four stakes races including the Group 3 $200,000 Livamol Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m), supported by the Group 3 $200,000 Blacktown Workers Club Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) and the Group 3 $175,000 Godolphin Crown (1300m).
The Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m), worth $125,000, has been upgraded to Listed level this year for the first time while the meeting's feature juvenile race, the $125,000 Clarendon Stakes (1300m) is surely going to afforded black type in the next year or two.