While the spotlight on Winx will be unwavering during autumn, trainer Chris Waller is counting on a team of exciting three-year-olds to emerge as the next stars of his stable.
Waller has entered Omei Sword for the Group Three Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday to give her the options of a three-week gap until the Group Two Surround Stakes (1400m) on February 25.
The Surround shapes as her final lead-up race before the Group One Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 11.
Stablemates Comin’ Through and Veladero are also entered for the Eskimo Prince but Waller is waiting until acceptance time to make a final call on all three of his charges.
Omei Sword was a powerful winner of the Group Two Silver Shadow Stakes before chasing Godolphin colt Astern home in Group One Golden Rose during spring.
She was favourite for the Group One Flight Stakes, but withdrawn two days before the race after she was found to have a respiratory infection.
“We thought, ‘well you’re going to have a pretty big autumn’ taking on some older fillies and mares’ so we decided not to push too far when she had a minor setback,” Waller said.
“She’s come back well and she’s a strong, mature horse now.”
She is the sole filly nominated for the Eskimo Price, but her Golden Rose performance has her sharing favouritism with Impending who finished third in that race.
“She has had that experience against the boys and proved she can be up against the depth of those colts,” Waller said.
“It makes for an exciting horse ahead of the autumn.”
Comin’ Through and Veladero are also entered for a benchmark handicap over 1400m as Waller mulls over which race to kick off their autumn campaigns.
Comin’ Through is a half-brother to multiple Group One winner Criterion and won the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on October 29.
“This horse physically looks like he’s only got improvement in him,” Waller said.
“He was a pretty immature three-year-old in the spring.
“He’s gradually started to improve and come back stronger.”
Waller said Veladero would be aimed at 1800-2000m races during the autumn as he looks to add to his Group Three Gloaming Stakes victory with more black-type success, while Comin’ Through will be primed for 1500-1600m targets.