While Winx’s reputation is unrivalled, James Cummings is hoping Prized Icon can improve his standing by running well against the champion mare.
Winx’s dominance has reached heights where rival trainers are satisfied if horses just acquit themselves well against her.
Only two horses from outside Chris Waller’s stable will take on Winx in Saturday’s Group Two over 1600m at Randwick.
They are Godolphin Group One winner Hartnell and the Cummings-trained three-year-old Prized Icon, who won the Group One Champagne Stakes in April.
“It leaves us in a good position to let the horse’s reputation be improved if he can run well against the weight-for-age horses,” Cummings said.
Prized Icon was solid first-up, finishing fourth in the Group Three Up And Coming Stakes carrying 61kg.
Cummings said he thought long and hard about keeping the three-year-old to his own age group in the Ming Dynasty Quality, but the 10.5kg weight swing from last start was appealing.
“He had to carry 61 kilograms first-up and he was allotted 62 second-up if I ran him in the Ming Dynasty,” Cummings said.
“He’s just not given must chance to win under those conditions.
“He won’t know himself with the weight turnaround.”
The weight advantage three-year-olds carry into the race has not translated into success since Mighty Kingdom won the Chelmsford in 1979.
Despite the history, Prized Icon is the horse given the biggest hope of an upset and he sits on the second line of betting at $7. Winx is $1.15 favourite.
“He looks much closer in the market would you believe at weight-for-age against Winx than he was first-up against Divine Prophet giving him the weight advantage,” Cummings said.
Running in the $1 million Golden Rose on a one-week back up remains an option for Prized Icon, who could also contest the Gloaming Stakes over 1800 metres on September 24.
Winx’s jockey Hugh Bowman rode Prized Icon in the Up And Coming and while he thinks the horse will be better suited over 1600m, he doesn’t think they are at the same level.
Not surprisingly, Bowman believes Winx has the race at her mercy.