Australian Spring Racing Jumps in August with All Eyes on Winx
August marks the return of Group quality racing in Australia, beginning with the Group 3 Auries Star Handicap at Flemington. The Group 3 Spring Stakes at Morphettville and the Group 3 Missile Stakes at Royal Randwick are the other races that will inaugurate Group racing for the 2017 – 2018 racing season.
Those three races may whet the appetite, but it is the following week, when Winx returns for the Group 2 Warwick Stakes that will attract all the attention. It is one to two Group 2 races in August and the only Group 1 race is the Memsie Stakes.
September is when things get a bit more involved. Nine Group 1 races are spread across the month, combined with 18 Group 2s and 16 Group 3s.
Casual observers are looking ahead to October, when the spring carnivals are in full swing, mainly to see if Winx can add a third consecutive WS Cox Plate to her resume. Such has been her dominance that Hartnell’s connections are pointing him at the Caulfield Cup. Many would like to see Winx have a try in the inaugural running of The Everest, but trainer Chris Waller does not seem to think that 1200 metres suits her.
October offers nine Group 1 races, 12 Group 2s and 16 Group 3s.
The big news in October is the October 14 staging of The Everest, where the ATC and Racing NSW have stolen a march on Racing Victoria and the VRC by poaching the title of World’s Richest Turf Race from the Melbourne Cup. Victoria’s response is that racing in that state is for the common man, as opposed to the pay-to-play format of The Everest, where the wealth ownership syndicates pay dearly to pick a horse to run.
The Melbourne Cup is by far the highlight of November, still, and will jump on November 7 this year.