The first Group 1 of the Sydney Spring Carnival will be run and won at Randwick on Saturday with a capacity field stepping out in the Winx Stakes. 

The 1400m feature has attracted a classy field of proven Group 1 performers, made up of last year’s runner-up Fangirl, Annabel Neasham’s talented stayer Zaaki, and the returning Think It Over.  

With the majority of the field resuming, there is no shortage of value to be found in the market, but it’s worth noting favourites have typically dominated the winner’s circle with 16 saluting since 1983. 

With plenty to dissect, we’ve run the rule over every horse in our 2023 Winx Stakes Preview below! 

1. Think It Over (7)  

No stranger to winning big races at a huge price.  

The son of So You Think has been absent for close to 500 days, last seen winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in a boil-over ahead of Zaaki and Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant two autumns ago.  

All reports suggest he’s overcome his injury, and his recent Warwick Farm trial backs that claim up. Whether he’s in need of the run remains to be seen, but after winning the Apollo Stakes by nearly three lengths during that same preparation, the double-figure odds are tough to ignore.  

2. Zaaki (8)  

Back for another crack in Sydney after running 1.6 lengths off Giga Kick in the All Aged Stakes first-up during the autumn.  

He mixed his form during the Brisbane Carnival, winning the Hollindale on the Sunshine Coast before struggling up on the speed in the Doomben Cup.  

Draws to get a similar run up front, and he does tend to run a huge race fresh. This is the toughest assignment he’s faced in a while, but off a decent trial at Warwick Farm, he’ll be hard to beat.  

3. Mo’unga (16)  

Another proven first-up performer that has trialled beautifully ahead of his return.  

While he hasn’t won in some time, the Savabeel entire continues to hold his own against some of the country’s top weight-for-age horses – most notably running third to Anamoe in the Chipping Norton, and back-to-back places behind Dubai Honour later in the autumn.  

Having won this race only two years ago, another top five showing would come as no surprise.  

4. Arapaho (19)  

We’re getting a big price for a horse that won the Tancred at a much shorter double-figure quote back in March.  

Whether he can repeat that effort some time over the next few months remains to be seen, but his recent trial work at Canterbury suggested he might be in for another big prep.  

Bjorn Baker’s seven-year-old tends to run a big race fresh, and if he can somehow overcome the horror barrier, he might be thereabouts.  

5. Francesco Guardi (6)  

Another one that could run a cheeky race if everything falls into place. 

I still think Group 1 level might be a bit beyond him, but he’s a proven performer over 1400m with a pair of wins next to his name.  

Returns from a lengthy layoff due to injury, but he’s appeared in good order at the trials.  

6. Communist (14)  

Tough to get a gauge on this Freedman-trained gelding.  

He did win the Randwick Guineas over the autumn, so that’s worth respecting. But after being found out in the Doncaster from a similarly tricky draw, it’s hard to know if he’s truly up to this level.  

Happy to watch him go around.  

7. Golden Mile (2)  

Worth forgiving after being hampered by the fall of Big Parade first-up in the Missile Stakes.  

He had genuine excuses the run prior in the Doncaster, struggling out wide and never really handling the heavy conditions.  

Draws a treat on this occasion and does have that comfortable second-up win to his name in a Group 3 race over 1300m last year. Worth a thought each-way.  

8. Osipenko (17)  

Chris Waller looks to have found a good one here with this son of Pierro.  

We’ve seen him flash some potential in easier races so far, winning the Hobartville and the Frank Packer Plate during his autumn campaign.  

His recent trial wasn’t anything to get excited about, but after being beaten only two lengths in the Doncaster by Mr Brightside, he’s definitely up to this level. It’s just a shame about the gate.  

9. Lindermann (18)  

Another four-year-old that could potentially have the world at his feet.  

We saw what he was all about during the autumn when placing in the Randwick Guineas, improving significantly a fortnight later to win the Rosehill Guineas by the barest of margins.  

Like others, he’s drawn horribily in gate 18, but with a really solid Canterbury trial under his belt, I wouldn’t be shocked if he won.  

10. Major Beel (10)  

Another previous Group 1 winner from the autumn that has gone up an enormous price.  

That said, he had everything in his favour when winning the ATC Derby, appreciating a genuine tempo and a race pattern that suited those swooping in out wide.  

Given he’s much better suited over further, I’m happy to look elsewhere.  

11. Duais (9)  

It’s difficult to assess this mare based on what was a pretty average spring, at least by her usual lofty standards.  

The three-time Group 1 winner has since enjoyed a brief Winter Carnival up in Brisbane, rattling home late for third in the Doomben Cup behind Without A Fight. 

At her best, she’s certainly capable of putting this field away, but with the blinkers on again, and a pretty average trial leading in, I’m just not sure where she’s at.  

12. Montefilia (15)  

I think Montefilia is capable of winning another Group 1 before her time is up, but I’m not sure this will be the one.  

The mare by Kermadec was twice placed in the Ranvet and the Tancred Stakes to wrap up her autumn campaign, and while she has trialed nicely at Rosehill, I think she’ll likely be in need of the run.  

1400m is also short of her best, and from a tricky gate, I’d be surprised if she threatens.  

13. Fangirl (11)  

The main danger in the race for mine.  

This smart Sebring mare has incredibly likable form lines dating back to last spring, placing twice behind Anamoe before a complete forgive in the Doncaster Mile to round out her autumn prep.  

A truly wet track would test her, but she’ll appreciate the improving conditions come race day. Flies fresh, and with J-Mac on board, she should prove hard to beat.  

14. Going Global (13)  

Certainly a mare to keep an eye on as the spring progresses, but given she failed to show much in the Doncaster on debut, it’s tough to know if she’s up to this level on return.  

15. Princess Grace (1)  

Attempting her first Group 1 in Australia, but she has held her own at this level overseas placing in all three attempts.  

Her brief autumn campaign after arriving was successful, capped off with a comfortable win in the Hawkesbury Crown over Expat after weaving her way through runners down the straight.  

This is a big challenge first-up – especially if the track is wet – but she still looks to be a mare worth keeping an eye on over the coming months.  

16. Hinged (5)  

Always an honest customer, as saw first-up in the Apollo Stakes when she finished second between Anamoe and Fangirl to begin the autumn.  

She went on to run some bold races in the Ranvet and the Queen of the Turf, but just seems to lack the polish in the final stages to finish over the top.  

Her first-up record is solid, but I can’t entertain her for anything more than a place.  


17. King Colorado (3)  

18. Navajo Peak (12)  

19. Attrition (4)