Trainer Chris Waller was croaky and nearly mute but unbeaten filly Winx made all the noise for him after lowering Earthquake’s colours in the group 2 Furious Stakes.
Despite being the subject of some big bets when crunched from $2.25 into $2.05 late, Godolphin’s Blue Diamond winner did not accelerate over the Randwick rise and battled away to finish third.
It left Waller’s untapped Winx ($6.50), a progeny of ailing Darley stallion Street Cry and graduating from a couple of impressive winter wins, to rush clear and win by a widening two-and-three-quarter lengths from Alpha Miss ($26).
“She’s not ready made yet as everything fell into place for her today, but she’s a top filly in the making,” jockey Hugh Bowman said of Winx. “It’s hard to really judge them on heavy ground. She put them away and I didn’t know if the others were coming or not.”
Godolphin head trainer John O’Shea gave Earthquake, chalking up just her second defeat after a narrow Golden Slipper loss, a pass mark after taking into account a rain-interrupted preparation.
“I’m happy enough with that [Earthquake’s performance],” O’Shea said. “Hopefully we get a dry track in a couple of weeks and we needed to have that run now.”
Added Earthquake’s jockey, Kerrin McEvoy: “She wasn’t in love with the ground. She travelled really well going up the rise, but once she was off the bridle she didn’t like the ground at all.”
Winx and Earthquake will stage a return bout in the Tea Rose Stakes over 1400 metres in a fortnight.
Before the stewards, O’Shea lamented that Earthquake’s stablemate, Memorial ($8; last), had not handled the heavy ground and was also in season.
“When we got to the track she was horsing and carrying on,” he said. “She did have a hard run first-up on the track, too.”