Winx Rivals Slow to Sign Up for Group 1 George Main Stakes

Weight-for-age racing is said to be the truest test of a thoroughbred’sability and allows younger horses to compete on more equal hoofing with more mature, more accomplished gallopers.

Yet, of late, there has been a mildly disturbing trend where racing clubs have been having trouble filling fields for major races, even Group 1 events. The most recent example was the Australian Turf club extending the deadline for nominations for the Group 1 George Main Stakes in order to try to find some fresh victims for Winx.

Randwick trainer Pat Webster sounded almost giddy about the prospect of his horse Happy Clapper running second to Winx, if that should turn out to be the case, since the horse finishing second will add plenty of money to the coffers.

Speaking with the News Corp Australia Network, Webster enthusiastically said, “It’s $94,000 for second!”

Happy Clapper is a year older than Winx, and a gelding, so he (it?) routinely draws more weight than Winx.

“We will definitely run in the George Main,’’ Webster said. “If you did the sums, it was $84,000 to the winner in the Bill Ritchie and he would have had to carry about 60kg on a 53kg limit.But the George Main is weight-for-age and a more suitable race for Happy Clapper. We will cruise around behind Winx and what will happen, happens.
Happy Clapper has faced Winx four times and his best outcome was second in last year’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile. In that race, Happy Clapper spotted Winx six kilograms. That margin has shrunk to 2.5 kg for Saturday’s race.

All of this, along with the move to eliminate gender-based allowances in the human species has us wondering. Is it time to reconsider the 2 kg additional allowances fillies and mares receive from their male counterparts?

Australian thoroughbred racing stipulates the weights to be carried, one of the few racing jurisdictions to do so, while in Europe, the WFA scale allowances are based solely on age.

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