Fiesta surrounds herself with greatness

Fiesta surrounds herself with greatness

As Winx bids to take her Group One tally to 23, the horse closest to her will be trying to win her first.

Fiesta occupies the stall next door to the champion at Chris Waller’s stable and will run in Saturday’s Surround Stakes (1400m), 40 minutes after Winx contests the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).

The box was formerly occupied by the now-retired Foxplay who like Fiesta, wore the purple with white stars of Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds.

“They get on reasonably well,” Waller said.

If Fiesta can win the Surround she will have bragging rights over her neighbour who ran fifth in 2014 when the race was at Group Two level and won by First Seal.

Winx finished second in the Group One Flight Stakes that year, also won by First Seal, with Fiesta replicating that when runner-up to Oohood.

The following autumn Winx began her winning streak which now stands at 30 and Fiesta has started in fine fashion, taking out the Inglis Sprint on February 6.

She had a race day gallop at Rosehill last Saturday to keep her up to the mark.

“The gallop was because she was three weeks between runs,” Waller said.

“She has trained on very well since her first-up win and she has had sufficient time to get over the run and prepare properly for a 1400 metre race second-up.

“Unfortunately the draw (14) is not in her favour but the 1400 metre start at Randwick is reasonably fair and as long as she gets some cover, she will be ready to pounce in the straight.”

Winx will have six rivals in the Chipping Norton with Happy Clapper again expected to be the only one who can challenge her, albeit briefly until she hits stride in the final 200m.

“I am not going to go too much into worrying about how the race is going to be run but we will simply ensure that she is comfortable through the run, which is what she appreciates, and her turn of foot and acceleration will ensure that she is ready to go at any stage of the race,” Waller said.

“Her work over the past week has been very good and I am thoroughly looking forward to Saturday.”

Winx’s winning sequence has been largely without concern with only a couple of scary moments, one when Foxplay almost pinched the 2017 Warwick Stakes.

Foxplay was never quite the same and could not repeat her win in the Queen of the Turf, a likely target for Fiesta who will not have to encounter Winx in a race with the champion set to be retired after her autumn campaign.

Credit: AAP