Lindsay Park is the latest rival stable to acknowledge the aura of invincibility that surrounds Winx ahead of her return to racing in the Apollo Stakes.
Imported galloper Dibayani will step out for his second campaign under co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig with renewed hope about his long-term Australian prospects but with little confidence he can beat Winx at Randwick.
“You are always intrigued to see how they come back and how they race first-up in shorter trips but she just looks quite exceptional on her wins,” Dabernig said.
Finding a trainer willing to tip an upset in the weight-for-age race on Saturday is as difficult as getting a bookmaker to offer odds about Winx that will appeal to her biggest fans – Australia’s rank-and-file punters.
And Dabernig has a stable reference stronger than most to fall into the same line of thinking after Lindsay Park’s best horse couldn’t get anywhere near Winx in the Cox Plate.
“We ran second to her with Criterion in the Cox Plate. We got a bit crowded for room on the bend and brushed the rail,” Dabernig said.
“Without that I thought we might have finished a length closer or something but we couldn’t have beaten her because she bolted in.”
Dibayani arrived at Lindsay Park via careers in Ireland and Hong Kong and the six-year-old has been sent to Sydney to regain some of the momentum he lost in the latter part of a Melbourne spring campaign.
“Being from Hong Kong he struggled in the spring with the Melbourne way of going,” Dabernig said.
“But he’s a different horse on his Sydney leg and he’s going well now.
“We’re hoping that way of going will be the key to him and he’ll stay in Sydney now through the autumn.”
Solicit is rated the best chance to beat Winx but even her trainer Gerald Ryan is resigned to being on the wrong end of the quinella position.
Dabernig expects Stay With Me to start her autumn campaign on the right foot when the filly resumes as one of the favourites in the Light Fingers Stakes.
“I think she has come back a little bit better from the spring which is always a big call because she won the Thousand Guineas,” Dabernig said.