While excitement builds for the return of champion Winx, her stablemate Shillelagh will bid for a second Group One victory in Melbourne in the C F Orr Stakes.
Winx will run in a barrier trial at Rosehill on Monday ahead of a possible defence of the Group Two Apollo Stakes at Randwick on February 17.
Trainer Chris Waller is expected to confirm after the trial which path Winx will take with drama surrounding her jockey Hugh Bowman who needs to have two suspensions reduced on appeal to be back for the Apollo.
Shillelagh won the Group One Kennedy Mile at Flemington on November 4 and has had two barrier trials to get her ready for Saturday’s C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield where she will take on a quality field including last year’s winner Black Heart Bart.
“Shillelagh will run in the Orr with Michael Dee who won on her at Flemington to ride,” Waller said.
“She is a good fresh horse and was unlucky when she raced at Caulfield last spring.”
The mare came from near last in the Group Two Tristarc Stakes (1400m) on October 21 to run third, beaten less than a length, behind Global Glamour and Cool Passion.
Godolphin’s Hartnell will also run in the Orr with trainer James Cummings more than happy with his second in a Warwick Farm barrier trial on Friday.
Darren Weir is expected to saddle Tosen Stardom and Brave Smash as well as Black Heart Bart.
Kerrin McEvoy will ride the Anthony Freedman-trained Mr Sneaky, runner-up to stablemate Santa Ana Lane in the Sir Rupert Clark Stakes over the course and distance on October 1.
McEvoy rode four winners at Rosehill on Saturday including three for Waller on his second day back from a hand injury suffered in December.
Others Orr contenders include Mighty Boss, Single Gaze, Lord Of The Sky and Abbey Marie.