Verry Elleegant draws ideally as part of five-strong Waller Group 1 assault

Superstar mare Verry Elleegant is drawn to get every chance of defending her Winx Stakes crown as she leads a five-pronged Chris Waller assault of the first Group 1 of the season at Randwick.

Leading jockey James McDonald will be in the hot seat on the early favourite from barrier five as Verry Elleegant looks to get her spring campaign off to winning start in consecutive years.

Verry Elleegant highlighted her versatility when hanging tough to outpoint Star Of The Seas in the same race 12 months ago.

A field of 14 has accepted for the $500,000 weight for age event over 1400m in 2021.

Star Of The Seas (barrier nine) will line up in the Group 1 again alongside fellow Waller-trained spring contenders Kolding (10), Imaging (six) and Hungry Heart (3) – her first run since her Australian Oaks win.

Waller has won the five of the past six editions of the Winx Stakes, named in honour of his former star mare which won three times from 2016 to 2018.

Godolphin only elected to accept with Doncaster Mile winner Cascadian, which will jump from barrier seven, with stablemate Colette set to line up next week in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes.

Mo’unga will make his return. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Tommy Berry will be forced to navigate from gate 12 when he pilots the talented Mo’unga in his highly-anticipated spring return while the younger brother of Fierce Impact, Keiai Nautique (4), will make his Australian debut.

George Ryder Stakes winner Think It Over (2) shed his undergo tag in a sensational autumn and should be ready to fire from a handy draw in his first up assignment.

A pair of Cups nominated imports will lead Hawkes Racing’s hunt for more major glory with the classy Master Of Wine (8) joined by Mount Popa (1).

The chances of veteran galloper Dreamforce took a hit after the John Thompson galloper drew barrier 11 with the John Sargent-trained Brandenburg (13) and Bjorn Baker’s She’s Ideel (14) also drawing wide.

The Winx Stakes has a sensational support card with Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes, Group 3 Show Country Quality and Group 3 Toy Show Quality all drawing strong fields.

Racing is expected to take place on a good track with Randwick rated a Good (4) at acceptance time and clear weather forecast until the weekend.

Kolding will make his return. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

WINX STAKES FIELD – (Number – Horse – Trainer – Jockey – Barrier – Weight)

1 KOLDING (NZ) Chris Waller Tim Clark (10) 59kg

2 THINK IT OVER Kerry Parker Brenton Avdulla (2) 59kg

3 CASCADIAN (GB) James Cummings Hugh Bowman (7) 59kg

4 DREAMFORCE John Thompson Nash Rawiller (11) 59kg

5 IMAGING (GB) Chris Waller Ms Kathy O‘Hara (6) 59kg

6 STAR OF THE SEAS (NZ) Chris Waller Jay Ford (9) 59kg

7 KEIAI NAUTIQUE (JPN) Matthew Smith Glen Boss (4) 59kg

8 MASTER OF WINE (GER) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes (8) 59kg

9 BRANDENBURG (NZ) John Sargent Ms Rachel King (13) 59kg

10 MOUNT POPA (IRE) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes (1) 59kg

11 MO’UNGA (NZ) Annabel Neasham Tommy Berry (12) 58.5kg

12 VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ) Chris Waller James McDonald (5) 57kg

13 SHE’S IDEEL Bjorn Baker Jason Collett (14) 57kg

14 HUNGRY HEART Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy (3) 56.5kg

Recent winners:
2020 – Verry Elleegant
2019 – Samadoubt
2018 – Winx
2017 – Winx
2016 – Winx

Originally published asWinx Stakes: Final field and barrier draw

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