2018 Chipping Norton Stakes – Preview and Tips

It’s a reasonably small field of nine that gather for Saturday’s Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick. Surely there can be only one? Yes, a phrase muttered on that old 80’s movie ‘Highlander’, but in this case, it looks like one horse has the contest sewn up. The mighty Winx.

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Here’s the field for the Chipping Norton Stakes:

511x7 1. Classic Uniform (2), J: A Adkins, W: 59 kgs, 34.00
4491x 2. Who Shot Thebarman (3), J: T Angland, W: 59 kgs, 201.00
6528x 3. Libran (1), J: B Avdulla, W: 59 kgs, 51.00
20x24 4. Prized Icon (4), J: G Schofield, W: 59 kgs, 13.00
X13x6 5. Stampede (5), J: T Clark, W: 59 kgs, 17.00
66411 6. Jemadar (9), J: A Hyeronimus, W: 59 kgs, 81.00
1111x 7. Winx (6), J: H Bowman, W: 57 kgs, 1.08
0x00x 8. Lasqueti Spirit (7), J: J Ford, W: 57 kgs, 101.00
15140 9. Vinland (8), J: K McEvoy, W: 56 kgs, 71.00

It would be a brave betting man to invest thousands of dollars on any other horse than Winx. On the SP’s, there is no other horse in single digit figures. The closest is Prized Icon at $13’s.

The Chipping Norton Stakes is run over 1600m at Royal Randwick, and several of these gallopers will be using it as a tune-up to longer distance races coming up over the next few weeks. Two in mind are Who Shot Thebarman and Libran. Both genuine stayers who will be coming in fresh, but will be at extremely long odds.

The two ‘classics’ winners lining up here are 2016 VRC Derby winner Prized Icon and 2016 VRC Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit.

The former has had two runs back this prep, both over 1400m for a second and a fourth. He has been off the scene since last racing during the Queensland winter carnival and missed the Spring season entirely. He’s also moved house, from James Cummings stable to Kris Lees up in Newcastle. On class alone, he’s good enough to a run second in this field.

As for Lasqueti Spirit, she’s priced well out of the market and for good reason. She was horribly out of form last prep and returns here fresh. Can we expect a bold front-running display like she did to win the VRC Oaks at 100-1 odds? I’d like to see it happen, but not over a mile.

Rosehill trained Classic Uniform has either won or placed 23 times out of 37; his biggest win coming in last years Group 2 Hill Stakes on his home track. Has had one run back this prep, in the Apollo Stakes, and probably needed that run. He’ll be up against it here though. Not the worst place punt of the day.

The horse with the best form leading into this (outside of Winx) is the Warwick Farm trained Jemadar. Has won his last two starts, but only in benchmark races. A Group 1 event like this is a far different proposition. I’ll be interested to see how he goes, but I’m thinking this could be a bit rich for him. His SP is $81.00.

The Waterhouse/Bott galloper Stampede is one I quite like. As a five-year-old, he’s very lightly raced (12 starts), and out of those he’s won 6 and placed 4 times. A very good hit rate. Last season he won the Chairmans Handicap (2000m) at Doomben, and then won the listed Opie Cup (1600m) at Moonee Valley, defeating eventual Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time in the process. His first race back this prep wasn’t good, but he’s a much better horse than that.

The Tony McEvoy trained three-year-old Vinland is taking on an ambitious task by competing here. He ran last week in the C.S Hayes Stakes at Caulfield, running midfield in a race dominated by two leading chances in the Australian Guineas this weekend: Grunt and Cliff’s Edge. My guess is that he is being prepared for the Sydney Carnival ahead of time, with the Randwick Guineas on next weekend. Realistically, not much of a chance against the older horses, nor with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.

I’ll keep it brief. Winx to win the Chipping Norton in a landslide, with Prized Icon and Stampede filling in the minor places.

Winx, Prized Icon, Stampede

Best Roughie:
In this race, my pick @ $34.00 SP will be Classic Uniform.

Chipping Norton Stakes – check the odds on William Hill

March 1, 2018 by : • No Comments

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