Crowd favourites Winx, Clapper to steal show
SYDNEY'S two favourite racehorses, Winx and Happy Clapper, are set to steal the show again when they clash in the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Winx and Happy Clapper were the headline makers on Day One of The Championships.
Champion mare Winx only had an exhibition gallop but any chance to watch one of the all-time greats in action is savoured by race fans.
Happy Clapper then won the Doncaster Mile at his third attempt, avenging his second placings in the famous Randwick mile behind Winx in 2016 and It's Somewhat last year.
This sets the stage for Winx and Happy Clapper to go head-to-head again in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Sydney's richest race of the autumn and the feature on Day Two of The Championships.
Winx is $1.15 favourite with Happy Clapper on the second line at $9. The mighty mare is aiming for her 25th consecutive win, equalling Black Caviar's record, and her 18th at Group 1 level. She has beaten Happy Clapper in their seven previous meetings.
Trainer Chris Waller said the exhibition gallop would help Winx get rid of some nervous energy so she "will be in the zone" for Saturday.
Happy Clapper's trainer Pat Webster said the Doncaster winner has pulled up well and he can find no reason not to back up.
Meanwhile, Hugh Bowman has recovered from being concussed then fighting off a viral infection to declare himself ready to ride Winx on Saturday.
But Webster has had to break up his Doncaster Mile winning combination with Blake Shinn booked for Humidor in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Kerrin McEvoy will be the new rider of Happy Clapper next Saturday.
In other riding news, Team Williams has changed jockeys for race favourite Almandin in the Sydney Cup.
McEvoy, who won the Tancred Stakes on Almandin last start, goes on stablemate Aloft, who has only 51kg in the 3200m stamina test.
Almandin, topweight with 57kg, will be ridden by Damien Oliver.