TRAINER Chris Waller's exciting mare Winx is expected to return to racing in Saturday's Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill, where her performance could determine her spring target.
The four-year-old destroyed her opposition in devastating fashion to win the Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben in May, coming from well-back mid-race with a whirlwind sprint
That followed an equally brilliant last-to-first win in the Sunshine Coast Guineas over 1600m.
The daughter of Street Cry has been nominated for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate, but Waller is yet to lock in a specific spring target. Winx, who was a gallant second to Kiwi Gust of Wind in the AJC Oaks (2400m) in April, has won two of three first-up runs, but will obviously improve on whatever she does on Saturday.
Her main opposition includes Team Hawkes trio Messene, Ninth Legion and Nostradamus, while Gai Waterhouse's promising galloper Amanpour will also make her return to racing via the Theo Marks.
Meanwhile John O'Shea's Exosphere and Waller's Press Statement could be set for a re-match in the $1 million Group One Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
The Godolphin-owned Exosphere was outstanding when winning comfortably at Rosehill over the shorter 1200m on August 29, while the extra distance will suit Press Statement who has won up to 1600m at Doomben.
The Golden Rose has been robbed of some interest with early favourite and Golden Slipper winner Vancouver ruled out. Waller has nominated the promising Japonisme, whose run of four successive wins came to an end when the gelding missed a place behind Exosphere last start.
Despite having a cosy run, the son of Choisir, who was sent around as the $2 favourite, failed to run on in the straight and was beaten 2.4 lengths.
- WAYNE HEMING
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