Mo’unga among nine Group 1 winners in star-studded Winx Stakes

Mo’unga’s barrier trial mishap hasn’t dented the confidence of his rider, Tommy Berry, ahead of a showdown with a star-studded field for the Group 1 $750,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The form guide won’t make flattering reading for Mo’unga after he finished last of 10, beaten nearly eight lengths behind the speedy Best Of Bordeaux in a trial late last week.

But Berry said the Annabel Neasham-trained Mo’unga trialled without blinkers and was inconvenienced when he ran over the markers in his 1000m heat.

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“Mo’unga is usually pretty plain in his trials but the other day we also had the problem with the cones on the track,” Berry said.

“The cones were placed quite far out on the track after about a furlong (200m) but we didn’t know until we went around the first corner.

“I ended up going straight over a couple of them and that put Mo’unga out of the trial.

“He was three or four lengths closer before that happened and he’s the sort of horse that if something like that goes wrong in a trial he just switches off without the blinkers.

“But I am more than happy with Mo’unga going into Saturday’s race than I was before he won the Winx Stakes last year.”

Mo’unga is among nine Group 1 winners nominated for the Winx Stakes, the first major of the 2022-23 season. The field includes:

#Anamoe is the $2.50 favorite to score his fourth Group 1 win and takes his career earnings over the $5 million prizemoney barrier.

#Godolphin trainer James Cummings has a strong hand with Anamoe and Cascadian ($15).

#Rachel King is the new rider of talented mare Forbidden Love, the Randwick 1400m specialist and $4.50 second favourite.

#Duais, the early favorite for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, is at $11 in early Winx Stakes betting.

#Trainer Chris Waller has entered Hinged and Fangirl, both at $11, as he aims for the seventh Winx Stakes win in 12 years.

#Randwick’s course proper was rated a soft 7 on Monday but with a week of fine weather forecast for Sydney, the track rating is expected to be close to the good range for Saturday.

Mo’unga is on the third line of TAB Fixed Odds betting at $6 in his attempt to go back-to-back in the Winx Stakes.

Berry said Mo’unga will appreciate going to firmer track and blinkers on for the weight-for-age feature sprint.

“I know Mo’unga will enjoy a firming deck but so will others like Anamoe and Profondo,” Berry said. “If we get a dry track, it will be a really good race.

“If we can get the win again, then it sets you up for a good spring carnival.

“But this is going to be an exciting spring anyway because the prizemoney has gone up again and it is profitable for everyone.”

Berry is also partnering talented filly Russian Conquest in the Group 2 $250,000 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) and the classy mare Jamaea in the Group 3 $200,000 Toy Show Quality (1100m).

“Russian Conquest has had two trials and is coming up really well, Jamaea has had the one trial but she is very good on the fresh side,” Berry enthused. “I’ve got a very good book of rides.”

Originally published as Star jockey Tommy Berry confidant Mo’unga can overcome trial mishap and claim a third Group 1

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