Fangirl wins the Gr.2 Apollo Stakes at Randwick

Coolmore Raised Fangirl Dazzles in G2 Apollo

The $300,000 Group II ATC Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday is the traditional starting point for elite WFA horses seeking autumn glory in Sydney and the first three over the line showed cream does indeed rise to the top with victory going to the Ingham family homebred Fangirl (5m Sebring x Little Surfer Girl, by Encosta de Lago), who was foaled and raised at Coolmore.

Fangirl soared to new heights last spring winning the Group I ATC King Charkes Stakes and Winx Stakes with the Chris Waller trained daughter of Sebring looking even better again when she stepped into the yard on Saturday.

Heavily backed following a couple of good recent trials, Fangirl has made significant physical improvement from the spring and raced accordingly. The five year-old settled back in the field as is her usual pattern of racing and she unleashed a dazzling finishing sprint under a hands and heels ride from James McDonald.

Fangirl made it look like a working gallop as she sauntered past her rivals to win by two and a half lengths eased down.

James McDonald was glowing in his praise of Fangirl, whose overall record stands at eight wins and seven placings from 24 starts with $7.5million in prizemoney.

“She's come back in beautiful order and dare I say it, it will take a good one to beat her this prep. It felt like I was on Dundeel in the Derby again, just idle up the rise and basically felt like an exhibition gallop really for her.

“It was just a matter of getting her into her rhythm and she does the rest. She's just a beautiful mare and well-named, beautiful colours on her.

“Her work has been sensational, her trials. Take her formlines I suppose, apart from that Champion Stakes after a hard run Cox Plate that was her only glitch in her form and that wasn't really a glitch it was because the track was on fire and we couldn't make ground.”

Chris Waller is no stranger to success in the Apollo Stakes, using it as the starting point for his past champion Winx in her autumn preparations and Fangirl will continue on the same path with the Chipping Norton (G1 1600m), Ryder Stakes (G1 1500m)and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1 2000m) her likely program.

Fangirl is the best of five winners from stakes-winning Encosta de Lago mare Little Surfer Girl, a daughter of triple Group I winner Special Harmony.

Little Surfer Girl has a yearling filly by Wootton Bassett and a colt by Home Affairs, who covered her again last year.