Winx has a stranglehold on the Apollo Stakes market but the strength of the entries for the Group Two race means VRC Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit is not yet in the field.
Acceptances are taken on Wednesday for Saturday’s feature at Randwick which has a 14-horse limit with several defections expected.
Ambience, Lasqueti Spirit and Savvy Nature are the three of the 17 nominations outside the field to take on the champion who is at $1.20 to extend her winning streak to 14.
The only downside is the 78mm of rain which fell on Randwick on Tuesday but with a return to hot conditions the track should improve to soft by race day.
Trainer Chris Waller says everything is in order for Winx’s return with the mare partnered by Hugh Bowman in a fast gallop on Tuesday morning accompanied by her stablemate Preferment.
Waller said both horses pleased him with Winx shading multiple Group One winner Preferment who is also in the mix for the Apollo (1400m).
“Preferment will need to be going well to go to Melbourne for the Australian Cup again,” Waller said.
“Winx is has done everything right leading into the Apollo.”
Preferment won last year’s Australian Cup at Flemington and also claimed The BMW at Rosehill.
But he failed to run a place in four spring starts and his campaign ended after his 11th of 16 in the Caulfield Cup.
Hartnell, recently named Australia’s second best horse in the world rankings, is the $11 second favourite for the Apollo with three-year-olds Divine Prophet and Global Glamour at $15.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained dual Group One winner Global Glamour is also entered for the Light Fingers Stakes against her fellow three-year-old fillies.
The stable will wait until Wednesday morning to decide which race Global Glamour runs in.
She is the $4.20 second elect for the Light Fingers with doubt over the Waller-trained $2.70 favourite Omei Sword who was withdrawn from last Saturday’s Eskimo Prince Stakes because of a slight muscle issue.
Omei Sword was restricted to slow work on Tuesday morning and will have a stronger gallop on Wednesday to determine whether she runs on Saturday.