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Winx the star at delayed Randwick meeting

Punters won’t hear of Winx being beaten as she makes her delayed return in cooler and more low-key circumstances than originally planned.

Sydney’s oppressive hot weather forced racing officials to abandon a bumper day on Saturday and move the meeting to Monday when the maximum is expected to be in the mid 20s.

While it means a loss for the Australian Turf Club and Racing NSW, trainers and jockeys agree it was the right decision.

The ATC will throw the gates open on Monday and have moved the Apollo Stakes, featuring Winx and several other leading players coming into the autumn carnival, to 5.40pm.

The time slot has been designed to give as many people as possible to get to Randwick after work or find a local pub or club to watch the Group Two race.

Winx remains the $1.15 favourite with Hartnell viewed as the the only real threat at $9.50.

The Godolphin horse has yet to beat Winx and finished eight lengths from her in the Cox Plate as he led the chasing pack.

The two are likely to meet three times in coming weeks with the Chipping Norton and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on their programs.

Trainer John O’Shea is happy with Hartnell who is having his first start since his third in the Melbourne Cup.

“He’s come back in great shape. I couldn’t be happier with his attitude and his fitness level,” O’Shea said.

After a downpour last week, the Randwick track had improved by Sunday to the good range, better than had been expected for its original race day.

O’Shea will also start stayers Ambience and Magic Hurricane in the Apollo (1400m).

Dibayani is the third-elect at $21 with co-trainer David Hayes expecting him to run well, but not really expecting him to win.

“We were going to try to dodge Winx but unfortunately the program gave us no choice,” Hayes said.

“So we’re hoping we can run a place.

“Two of his placings have been behind Winx, so there’s a lot of horses that can’t get near her.”

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