The morning sun shows Danzdanzdance in good light ahead her date with Winx at Randwick tomorrow.
Winx has undisputed top billing on Day 2 of The Championships tomorrow, but the vibes around the Kiwi contingent stabled at Randwick suggest celebrations from this side of the Tasman won’t be only about the mighty mare.
The satisfaction of Cambridge training duo Roger James and Robert Wellwood after Rondinella had got through her final piece of work suggested quiet confidence in their Sydney Cup prospects.
Immediately after the Ocean Park mare had finished third in the Tancred Stakes, James had been in two minds about the merits of Rondinella taking her place in tomorrow’s two-miler. This morning, however, he conceded that he’s completely happy with her condition ahead of the A$2 million race, for which her $18 quote at withdrawal time has come into $12.
“She might be six months away from being fully mature, but she’s done very well since the Tancred and I believe she’s ready to go a big race,” James told www.theinformant.co.nz. “Our jockey (Sam Clipperton) went into the Tancred in a very positive frame of mind and if anything that has only increased.
“I put a lot of store in that, it all adds to her being able to have every chance tomorrow.”
Matamata trainer Lance O’Sullivan also reports that Sir Charles Road is in good order for his second Sydney Cup attempt, having finished third last year.
“That was a good run (for fourth) in the Chairman’s last Saturday and right now he’s a happy horse, which is where you want to be heading into a big one,” O’Sullivan said. “The improvement in the track is also going to help him, so at least he’s got a couple of things in his favour going into the weekend.”
Tomorrow’s headline race, the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, is all about Winx, who is quoted at a microscopic $1.06 to bow out with a 33rd straight win.
Support roles in what promises to be true racing theatre in front of a sellout crowd of more than 40,000 may well be played by last-start Ranvet Stakes placegetters He’s Eminent and Danzdanzdance.
The latter has pleased connections in the lead-up to her first meeting with Winx, and while co-trainer Chris Gibbs anticipates coming off second best, he’s optimistic she can claim some of the still substantial minor stake.
“She’s really thrived since the Ranvet and we’re very happy with her,” Gibbs said. “The midfield draw (5) is ideal; from there Opie should be able to position her where he wants.
“Let’s face facts though, Winx will again be virtually impossible to beat. Bowman would have rubbed his hands when she drew the outside gate – that way he can ride her like she’s the best horse in the field and keep her out of trouble.
“It’s going to be huge tomorrow and it will be fantastic just to be part of it. Our mare will be there to do her best though, and I’m confident she won’t be disgraced.”
Avantage, who won her Sydney debut three weeks ago, has also been stabled at Randwick, although this morning she did her final work elsewhere.
“We took her and Probabeel out to Botany Bay for a wander in the surf,” Te Akau travelling foreman Paul Richards reported. “It’s something we’ve done once or twice a week and they really enjoy it.”
Avantage lines up tomorrow in the A$1 million Arrowfield Sprint and in early markets shares favouritism with the Les Bridge-trained Classique Legend.
“She’s well,” Richards added, “I can’t fault her work or condition. The first-up run didn’t knock her – even that night she ate up – and she hasn’t missed a trick since.”
Perhaps the least regarded of the Kiwi contingent stabled at Randwick is Australian Oaks candidate Imelda Mary, but that doesn’t worry trainer and part-owner Wayne Hillis.
“She took a day or two to settle in when she arrived here earlier in the week, but she’s good now,” Hillis said of his $40 prospect. “I’ve been riding her in her work and she feels bright enough.”
Hillis is drawing on his experience with 2004 Australian Oaks placegetter Boulevardofdreams in assessing his chances in tomorrow’s A$1 million classic.
“Ability-wise they’re pretty much on a par, and adding everything up I’m thinking she could run just as well. If this filly can run third too, that’d do me thanks.”