‘Winx trial’ for returning Waller champ
The Everest winner Yes Yes Yes will be having a Winx-like hitout when he contests a Warwick Farm barrier trial on Tuesday.
Winx, the mighty mare trainer Chris Waller prepared to win her last 33 races in succession including a world record 25 at Group 1 level, was rarely pressured in barrier trials, winning only two of the 23 she contested during her celebrated racing career.
Yes Yes Yes is essentially a sprinter - he did run a sensational 1min7.32sec for the Randwick 1200m when winning The Everest last spring - but it is clear he won't be out to break any records at Warwick Farm.
"A Winx trial,'' was Waller's reply when asked what to expect from the crack colt when he lines up in a star-studded 900m heat that includes brilliant stablemate Nature Strip and Godolphin's top mare Alizee.
"I'm really happy with how they've come up (Yes Yes Yes and Nature Strip). Although we've had a drought, with modern training facilities, they are actually quite forward.''
The Warwick Farm trial is Yes Yes Yes Yes's first serious hit-out since The Everest last October and Waller is mindful the three-year-old has a long race campaign ahead including a possible trip to England for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Waller said Nature Strip, winner of the Moir Stakes and VRC Sprint Classic and fourth placegetter in The Everest last spring, is being readied for a return to racing in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington next month but the trainer hasn't locked in a comeback race for Yes Yes Yes.
"I haven't spoken to the owners yet, I wanted to wait until after the trial,'' he said.
"I see Nature Strip as being a very good straight horse and we are trying to get Yes Yes Yes through to the TJ (Smith) and overseas.
"Does he (Yes Yes Yes) really need to be beating one of the world's best sprinters (Nature Strip) over 1000m first-up?
"So, I have a slight leaning to running him in the Eskimo Prince Stakes but that is certainly not to say we won't be going to the Lightning.''
Waller also has Bondi Stakes winner Kubrick, talented three-year-old Reloaded and emerging staying prospect Shared Ambition lining up against Yes Yes Yes and Nature Strip.
Godolphin trainer James Cummings said Alizee is doing everything right in preparation for her return to racing next month and suggested the mare would be aimed at the All Star Mile if she can get a start.
TOMMY BACKS GUN FILLY
Star jockey Tommy Berry has endorsed Cellsabeel's Golden Slipper claims after the filly's stunning comeback win at Rosehill Gardens.
Cellsabeel put six lengths on her chasing rivals in what was probably the most dominant win by a two-year-old this season.
The Ciaron Maher-David Eustace trained filly is now the new outright favourite at $7 for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper at Rosehill on March 21, displacing Golden Gift winner Dame Giselle who is out to $11.
Berry, a two-time Golden Slipper winner on Overreach (2013) and Vancouver (2015), is adamant Cellsabeel is the "real deal".
"She gives me the feel of a Golden Slipper horse,'' Berry told Big Sports Breakfast Weekend on Sunday.
"The part that impressed me most was from the 500m to the 400m when she just towed me through them.
"She was like 'get out of my way, I'm coming through'. You felt like you were riding a three-year-old against two-year-olds.''
Cellsabeel's winning margin may have been flattered by the heavy track conditions as clearly some of the two-year-olds did not handle the going.
But Berry maintains Cellsabeel has improvement to come and is probably even better suited on firmer tracks.
"I think 80-90 percent of Golden Slippers are won on wet tracks so it was a good time to find out,'' Berry said.
"But all her trials have been on dry tracks and they have been very impressive. I think she will be just as good even better on top of the ground.''
Maher and Eustace now need to decide whether to start Cellsabeel next in the $2 million Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm on February 8 where she is already $1.80 favourite but prizemoney earned in that race does not count towards Golden Slipper qualification.
As it stands, Cellsabeel has banked $124,500 from her two starts and around $150,000 is usually enough to secure a Slipper start.
Berry also rode Cellsabeel's stablemate Prague, a $1.6 million Inglis Easter Sale graduate, to an impressive debut win at Canterbury on Friday night and predicts the colt is another two-year-old to follow through the autumn carnival.
"Prague's a lovely type and it wouldn't surprise me to see him line up in a Golden Slipper on raw ability,'' he said.
"But he does feel more like a Sires-Champagne horse.''
PLATE WINNER WORLD'S BEST
Did Lys Gracieux do enough with her wins in the Cox Plate and Arima Kinen to claim the 2019 World's Best Racehorse award?
The coveted title is announced in London on Wednesday night with the Japanese mare among the main contenders.
Lys Gracieux won her final three races, all at Group 1 level, to close out the year and followed her brilliant Cox Plate win by demolishing an outstanding field including Almond Eye to win the Arima Kinen by four lengths.
Timeform afforded Lys Gracieux's latest win a lofty 129 rating and if this figure is replicated by the panel of international handicappers that determine the World's Best Racehorse rankings the Japanese mare could earn world champion status.
But as it stands, Lys Gracieux is not even in the top 10 world rankings. English duo Enable and Crystal Ocean, and France's Waldgeist are the equal leaders on 128.
Winx, the winner of the World's Best Racehorse Award last year, was retired after her 33rd successive win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick back in April. The great mare's best rating this year was 125 which has her equal seventh on the world rankings.
SPECIAL DAY FOR BUSHFIRE CRISIS
Racing NSW and Australian Turf Club want to raise at least $100,000 for the Bushfire Appeal at the feature Carrington Stakes meeting at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The raceday has been branded "Racing for the Bushfire Appeal" with ATC offering free entry to all RFS and other volunteers helping with the bushfires.
Race-naming rights will be sold off with all funds raised supporting the cause, signed memorabilia from the meeting such as jockey's silks and saddle cloths with be auctioned off raising further funds, while Racing NSW and ATC will donate $10,000 each to support those affected by the fires.