Uncharacteristically dry weather in Sydney has not dampened Irish trainer Ken Condon’s enthusiasm as he prepares Success Days to take on Winx.
Condon, who arrived in Australia on Sunday, was upbeat after the six-year-old had his final fast hit-out for Saturday’s $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
Expectations are not too high considering Winx is odds-on to match Black Caviar’s 25-race unbeaten streak by claiming her 18th Group One win.
Success Days is the only internationally trained horse in the field of 10 and Condon will be rapt to return home with a top-four placing.
“He’s a Group Two level horse and although he’s Group One placed and he’s beaten some good horses on his day, that’s not good enough to trouble Winx,” Condon said.
Success Days will race for the first time since finishing 42 lengths behind Cracksman in the Group One Middle Distance Champion Stakes (2004m) at Ascot last October.
Since arriving in Sydney last month he has returned to his race weight and had an impressive gallop at Canterbury on Tuesday.
Unfortunately for Condon, there is no rain predicted leading into day two of The Championships.
“You roll the dice half the time with these matters. We definitely thought this meeting was going to be on slow ground,” he said.
Sydney’s standard autumn climate was one reason persuading Condon to bring a horse to Australia for the first time, although prize money was another driving force.
While Winx is expected to add another $2.3 million to her career earnings of $16.5 million, the runner-up receives $755,000 and third place $395,000.
“The prize money is excellent and I’d say this could open up things down the line and we might come back with something better,” Condon said.
Success Days will be ridden by Hong Kong champion Joao Moreira and jumps from barrier eight, the alley inside last Saturday’s popular Doncaster Mile winner Happy Clapper.
Humidor, who ran second to Winx in the Cox Plate and was eighth in the Doncaster, starts from barrier one for premier Victorian trainer Darren Weir.
Weir is also represented by French import Gailo Chop who comes back to his best distance after running fourth in the Group One Tancred Stakes (2400m) on March 31.
Humidor was the TAB’s second-elect at $11 after Tuesday’s barrier draw with Happy Clapper and Gailo Chop at $13 and Success Days at $35.
Winx’s part-owner Peter Tighe was philosophical after drawing the outside gate for Winx who drifted briefly to $1.18 before returning to $1.15.
“I’d have liked to have drawn nicely but sometimes it’s good that they’re out of trouble and you’re not worrying about other horses around you and tactics of other jockeys,” he said.