Ace High Will Need Ace up the Sleeve to Beat Winx in George Main

The usual suspects are lining up for a shot at Winx in Saturday’s Group 1 George Main Stakes at Randwick.

We seem to recall the most recent editions of the 1600-metre weight for age race, which the super mare won in 2016 and 2017, as being Chris Waller shows.

The Randwick based trainer supplied four of the eight-horse field in 2017. In 2016, only six horses jumped and Waller supplies three.

This year will probably be much the same. Connections who have capable stallions want nothing to do with racing Winx, as not only will they lose the battle, the race itself, they will lose the war, the stud fees that lie further down the road.

The same could be said of any mares or fillies that toe the line between fame and infamy.

Thus, the news that David Payne’s Ace High might be in the race was the sort of news we greeted with bridled enthusiasm.

Ace High ran in the Warwick, now Winx Stakes at the beginning of the month and ran dead last. The winner of the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500 m) and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000 m) is a capable Thoroughbred. His only shortcoming is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ace High owner John Cordina unabashedly admitted, through Payne, that simply finishing as runner-up to Winx in the George Main would enhance the stallion’s stud value.

Ace High had a good outing on September 1, when he ran second to Unforgotten in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes on the same course and distance as the George Main, but if we were to aim any criticism, it would simply be that it seems as though the trainer and the connections cannot decide if Ace High is a sprinter or a stayer.

Ace High is certainly versatile, having won from 1400 out to 2500 metres.

The fact that Ace High is being aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups would tend to foster the belief that the horse is better at distance.

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