CHAMPION mare Winx is set to start the shortest favourite in a Sydney Group 1 race for nearly 60 years in the $600,000 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The racehorse, rated the world’s best on turf, has been installed at $1.08 by TAB Fixed Odds price assessors to win her 23rd race in succession.
If Winx starts at $1.08 or shorter, she will be the hottest favourite in a Sydney major since Valerius won the same race, the 1961 Chipping Norton, at odds of $1.03 (33/1 on).
The only horse to start at shorter odds than Valerius in a Group 1 race was Ajax at $1.02 (40/1 on) in the 1939 Rawson (now Ranvet) Stakes when he was famously beaten by Spear Chief.
The great Black Caviar did go to the post at $1.03 when she won the 2013 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley but in her only two Sydney starts, the 2011 and 2013 TJ Smith Stakes, she was at $1.14 both times.
It seems “bad luck” is Winx’s main opposition as she attempts to claim a record 16th Group 1 win in the Chipping Norton. Black Caviar also won 15 Group 1 races during her unbeaten 25-start career.
There are 14 entries for the Chipping Norton Stakes with trainer Chris Waller having six nominations — Winx, Comin’ Through, Endless Drama, Libran, McCreery and Who Shot The Barman.
Despite Winx’s prohibitive odds, TAB’s Glenn Munsie said the mighty mare won’t stifle betting on the Chipping Norton Stakes.
“There are plenty of punters who still want to be on Winx,’’ Munsie said.
“They regard backing Winx as better than bank interest. It is an eight per cent earn on your money for about 95 seconds work.
“Some of the bigger punters see it as a very good way of getting a nice collect and more often than not Winx doesn’t even raise a sweat winning.’’
The biggest bets TAB has taken on Winx were $106,500 and $100,000 at $1.15 before she won her third successive Cox Plate last spring.
In Sydney, the biggest bet the TAB’s held against the great mare was $75,000 at $1.10 before her runaway Queen Elizabeth Stakes win last year.
There was also a wager of $72,000 at $1.08 before Winx won the George Main Stakes last spring.
The TAB has taken bets of $50,000 or more on 14 occasions in last 12 months on Winx as the mare continued her long winning streak.