by Ross Stanley
For the next ten weeks, the nation’s turf watchers will be firmly focussed on what could be termed an embarrassment of riches on offer in the south.
Queensland interest sparks up this weekend when the Magic Millions heroine Houtzen faces a first-up acid test at Moonee Valley in the $200,000 McEwen Stakes, an open age weight for age contest over 1000 metres.
Despite the light weight, some of the prices about her prospects do seem to be well under the odds.
Five of her six rivals have drawn on her inside.
Although the I Am Invincible filly showed tremendous early speed against her fellow juveniles last season, she is opposed to some very talented rivals with Group One earnings to their credit.
Some ultra smart two-year-olds do carry on the good work in their sophomore year but many don’t.
Eagle Farm conditioner Kelly Schweida saddles up Shogun Sun in the $200,000 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
This Brisbane-based contender by Written Tycoon scored nicely at Randwick early last month before picking up second money at the Gold Coast a fortnight ago.
The chestnut’s two victories to date have been registered on soft tracks.
Meanwhile, time is running out for Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club to finalise overseas representation for Randwick’s much vaunted $10 million sprint that should have been named The Kosciusko and not The Everest.
European and American stables are more likely to target the Breeders’ Cup program that is conducted three weeks after the Sydney event that is scheduled for October 14.
Any northern hemisphere hopefuls would need to be in quarantine very soon.
The concept is a gamble for many parties.
Slot owners that have already locked in a candidate will be anxiously analysing their nominee’s form in the phase ahead.
Investors that have yet to sign up an aspirant yet will be banking on getting a runner that exposes impressive form from here on in.
Given that Winx has not had walkovers at her two appearances this campaign, the television screens will be a centre of attention at Lee Park on Saturday, September 16 when she seeks her 20th successive victory.
It was surprising to note that an attendance figure of around 9,000 was posted for last Saturday’s Chelmsford Stakes when she drew on her class to score by less than a length.
The next mission for the Street Cry mare is the $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) which will be known as the Colgate Optic White Stakes this time around.
Surely more people will turn up to witness this race if it seems a nail-biting contest could develop.
It is a shame that the quality will be split, so to speak, with Flemington’s $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) presenting a more lucrative attraction.
Nanango’s fashion theme is “Feather Fascinators, Fedoras and Furs” and some lucky, unlucky punter will pick up a great prize.
All the winner will need to do is put a losing ticket that was made with a five dollar (or more) bet with a bookmaker in the barrel near the betting ring results board and stay until it is drawn out after the last.
The reward is a night’s accommodation at the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort and dinner for two at the Noosa Beach House.
The bookmakers are the sponsors and it will no doubt please them to see an overflowing barrel!