Earlier this week Chris Roots from the Sydney Morning Herald asked Daniel about whether Kementari can pose a genuine threat to Winx in the upcoming Winx Stakes at Randwick on Saturday?
Could Godolphin’s Kementari be the kryptonite to derail superstar Winx from an Australian record 26 straight wins at Randwick on Saturday?
Anything is possible.
“We have great respect for all the opposition in the race but when it does come down to it, we just feel like he is a sporting chance of giving Winx a scare,” trainer James Cummings said on Wednesday.
“He worked in such fashion yesterday morning that I thought it would be too dangerous giving him four weeks between runs to the Memsie and he will get his chance to get out on Saturday and have a chance to do his best. I am sure he will run a very good race.”
Kementari is a $6.50 chance with Beteasy in the Winx Stakes, while Winx is probably good value at $1.14. The gap in the market probably doesn’t reflect the difference in class. She had Kementari’s measure in the George Ryder Stakes in the autumn, but he has the advantage of fitness.
“All things taken into account and even allowing for the fact that Winx is first-up, she would still need to return significantly below her average rating level in genuinely run races and Kementari would need to be at his career best in order to threaten her,” betsmart.racing’s Daniel O’Sullivan said.
For professional punters, the folly of Winx has become trying to find a way she could get beaten, rather than betting.
Slow speed is one theory, however misadventure seems the most likely path to defeat.
“She can simply go faster than most horses and does it for longer than most horses,” O’Sullivan said. “That’s a pretty good formula.
“Personally, I haven’t backed her since her last defeat in the Australian Oaks. She is so short in betting the risk isn’t worth the reward.
“Having said that, she is that much better than her opposition that a $1.10 is probably good value. It means if she was to run against this field over 1400m at Randwick, would she get beaten once in every 10 races? I think everyone would answer the same – probably not.”
Kementari adds an edge of intrigue to the Winx Stakes as a powerful four-year-old with the benefit of a run under his belt, but O’Sullivan puts his chance in real terms.
“Only three times in the last two years has Winx rated at a level we could forecast Kementari beating her; that period covers 16 runs for Winx,” he said.
“The two most recent were this time last year when she resumed and just ran down Foxplay in this race and then she had some anxious moments in the Chelmsford Stakes when she claimed Red Excitement late.”
On both occasions, Winx lifted and surged to win from improbable positions in races that were slowly run early.
“What we’ve learned from this is that Winx’s potential kryptonite is a slowly run race, where she gets a long way back,” O’Sullivan said.
“I think those two races were a wake-up call to the team about being too complacent in the way she’s ridden. Since then she’s had seven runs and on average has only been 3.2 lengths off the leader at the 800m, with a maximum of 4.7 lengths, which was in an incredibly fast run 2017 Cox Plate.”
Lack of pressure works against Winx but with the likes Classic Unicorn, Religify, Cabeza De Vaca and Oriental Runner, which are all natural speed horses, in Saturday’s group 1 they should go along at a good gallop
“This race doesn’t look to present scenarios where we could make a case to say Winx is vulnerable to Kementari or any of the other competitors,” O’Sullivan said.
“The pace is very unlikely to be slow and from barrier five it’s hard to imagine Winx being too far back, especially with the awareness that it was those tactics which almost broke her winning streak last campaign.
“Kementari is drawn outside her and I’d suspect James Cummings will be looking at tactical options to go forward and settle in front of Winx.
“Even if he does that, it’s hard to imagine Winx will be too far off him and of course the strong likelihood of a genuine pace certainly advantages her profile as opposed to a sit-and-sprint race where Kementari having a head start could really make the race interesting.”