March 4 (UPI) -- Winx won again, for the 31st straight time, in a busy weekend of international racing.
In Japan, preparations continued for the Derby and Oaks. Derby doings also are well under way in Hong Kong. A Korean horse won in Dubai. Here's the scoop:
Winx ultimately had little trouble landing Saturday's Group 1 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes at Royal Randwick despite new tactics by pesky rival Happy Clapper. Happy Clapper, a frequent victim during Winx's run of brilliance, shot out to an uncharacteristic huge lead under Blake Shinn in the 1,600-meters Chipping Norton, playing "catch me if you can" with the mighty mare. Midway around the turn, some of Winx's backers must have been holding their breath as the lead held at 4, then 5 lengths.
But Hugh Bowman, so valuable to the team that Winx wouldn't run when he couldn't ride, knew exactly what he was doing. Set down for the drive, Winx quickly closed the gap, drew alongside the tiring leader and kicked away to win by nearly 2 lengths. Unforgotten was a distant third.
"And I'll be honest," Bowman told Racing Post. "Although I was pushing her, she was doing it with relative ease. And I think had I struck her, she would have found another couple of lengths for me.
"Blake is one of the few jockeys who will go out there and try and do something different. I actually anticipated he would try and go really slow, and he probably realized he couldn't win if he did that."
Another country heard from in the Carnival -- literally -- as South Korean-owned Dolkong swept by the leaders at the top of the lane and romped home first by 9 1/2 lengths in Thursday's Curlin Handicap at Meydan. Dolkong, with Olivier Doleuze in the irons, could have won by more but he was virtually eased in the final 50 meters. Etijaah and Galvanize secured the minor placings for trainer Doug Watson.
Dolkong, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Afleet Alex, finished the 2,000 meters in 2:05.37 and could have done better if asked. It was his first win in three starts in Dubai after shipping in from Korea. Simon Foster trains for owner Lee Tai In.
"I am very happy for the connections," Doleuze said. "I am lucky to ride this horse. Since his last run, I have been working on him and he looked like he really improved. Today he showed what I was expecting him to show ... He won a very good race today and everyone is happy. Everything from here is a bonus."
In the Meydan Classic for 3-year-olds at 1 mile on the turf, Sporting Chance got all the chance he needed when top rival Golden Jaguar was off to a slow start and trailed the field early. Sporting Chance, with Patrick Cosgrave up, took the lead down the lane while Golden Jaguar was forced to come around the field to get a clear shot. Golden Jaguar actually headed Sporting Chance about 100 meters out but couldn't sustain the momentum and Sporting Chance came back to win by a neck. Irish Trilogy also rallied late to finish third, another neck in arrears. Sporting Chance, a 3-year-old Kodiac colt, finished in 1:38.31.
"At this stage, there are no plans for the horse," trainer Simon Crisford said of Sporting Chance. "It was all about today and he delivered. We will get him back to England and decide on the summer."
Godolphin salvaged something on the night as Ispolini, Red Galileo and Bin Battuta finished 1-2-3 in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy at 14 furlongs on the grass. Ispolini, with Mickael Barzalona up for trainer Charlie Appleby, reported in 2:55.96.
"I always knew that stepping up in trip was going to open new doors for him and he showed that in his last start, his first one over this trip," Appleby said of Ispolini. "We thought he was going the right way going into this evening. He was a horse we felt was going to be very competitive. Going forward, he could a potential horse for the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night. There are plans for him to potentially go to Australia, as well."
A pair of long shots led them home in Sunday's Grade 2 Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho, or Japanese 2000 Guineas Trial, at Nakayama. Meisho Tengen, a Deep Impact colt out of the French Deputy mare Meisho Beluga, notched his second career win, reporting 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Schwarz Riese. The favorites, Nishini Daisy and Last Draft, finished fourth and seventh, respectively, after 2,000 meters of yielding turf on a rainy day.
Meisho Tengen, trained by Kaneo Ikezoe and ridden by Kenichi Ikezoe, finished in 2:03.3. After racing in mid-pack into the turn, the gray colt came five-wide into the stretch and opened a lead in the final 100 meters. Schwarz Riese was making progress with an even wider move but ran out of ground.
On Saturday at Hanshin, favorite Danon Fantasy came with a late rush to win the Grade 2 Tulip Sho, or Japanese 1000 Guineas Trial, by 1 length. The Deep Impact filly, with Yuga Kawada up, blew by Shigeru Pink Dia in the final 50 meters. Noble Score was third.
Danon Fantasy was the clear favorite in the Tulip Sho after closing out her 2-year-old account with three straight wins, culminating in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.
The Oka Sho, or Japanese 1000 Guineas, is run April 7 at Hanshin and the Satsuki Sho, or Japanese 2000 Guineas, is a week later at Nakayama. The Yushun Himba, or Japanese Oaks, is May 19 and the Tokyo Yushun, the Japanese Derby, May 26, both at Tokyo Racecourse.
Speaking of Derbies, the clock has ticked under two weeks' time to the BMW Hong Kong Derby -- the culmination of the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Four-Year-Old Series and the race every local owner covets above all others.
And on Saturday at Sha Tin Racecourse, Waikuku emerged as a leading Derby prospect -- and more -- with a facile win in the Classs 2 Lion City Handicap at 1,800 meters. With Joao Moreira back from suspension to oversee matters, the Irish-bred son of Harbour Watch broke well, took back and relaxed nicely, moved when asked and was in full command 200 meters from home, winning by 1 1/2 lengths in a hand ride for his fourth straight win.
"He has gone to another level. I can't wait to ride him in the Derby," Moreira said.
Waikuku's trainer, John Size, also saddled Enrichment, who finished third behind runner-up Mongolian King. Size said Enrichment also will go on to the Derby with Ryan Moore scheduled to take the mount.