Group One-winning colt Trapeze Artist may have earned the right to take on Winx after passing his first test at weight-for-age in the Expressway Stakes at Rosehill.
The winner of the Golden Rose in the spring, Trapeze Artist was backed late in Saturday’s Group Two 1200m sprint from $4.20 to $3.60 with another three-year-old, Addictive Nature, the $2.50 favourite.
Saturday’s win means owner Bert Vieira and trainer Gerald Ryan are looking to change tack from the Hobartville Stakes against his own age and instead set Trapeze Artist to take on the champion in the Apollo Stakes, also over 1400m, in two weeks.
“He’s won at weight-for-age now so we may well take on Winx next,” Ryan said.
As expected, Memes ($16) led the field and Clark worked his way across from the widest barrier on Trapeze Artist to sit behind the pacesetter.
Memes found it tough at the business end of the race and as she weakened, Trapeze Artist assumed control and went to the line with 1-1/4 lengths to spare over Showtime ($9.50), who came from last.
Addictive Nature held third, another half neck away with Global Glamour, who drifted from $3 favouritism to $4.20, fourth and Ace High making ground late for fifth.
“He probably shouldn’t have gone to Melbourne for the Coolmore Stud Stakes but he has come back well,” Ryan said.
“He had about three weeks in the paddock and he’s flying.
“He trialled better than I thought he would and was very fit coming into today.
“He is much stronger than he was last time and I would love to win another Group One with him while he is a three-year-old.
“I know Bert has been talking to some studs so hopefully he can get a deal.”
Trapeze Artist has already had one win over Winx in a barrier trial on January 22, which went largely unnoticed because of her presence and that of top sprinter Redzel.
Ace High’s trainer, David Payne, confirmed a traditional path for the colt.
“He can’t sit and sprint with them over the shorter distances but it was very pleasing to see him hit the line like he did,” he said.