YEAR OF WEIR (& WINX)

Wednesday 26, 2017 2:00 PM By Best Bets

And so it’s farewell to another season, with the last four Australian stakes races of 2016/17 to be run at Caulfield, Morphettville and Ascot this Saturday.

It seems a while ago that Tycoon Tara won the season’s first stakes race, the Missile Stakes at Randwick on August 6 last year. Neatly, the same mare won the final Group 1 race of the season 10½ months later — the Tatts Tiara on June 24.

The 591 group and listed races run in Australia so far this season have been shared among 414 horses — led, of course, by Winx with eight starts for eight black-type wins.

Second place (four wins) was shared by Black Heart Bart (all in Group 1s), Foxplay, I Am a Star, Kenedna, Redzel, Rock Magic, Scales of Justice, Tycoon Tara and Variation.

A further 25 horses won three stakes races apiece while 90 notched black-type doubles and 288 had single wins.

The leading trainer of stakes winners in Australia this season is Darren Weir with 48, comprising eight Group 1s, six Group 2s, 17 Group 3s and 17 listed races.

Chris Waller was second with 35 stakes winners, while Lindsay Park’s David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig took the bronze medal with 32.

With usual main rival James McDonald out of action for much of the term, Hugh Bowman was a convincing winner among the jockeys.

Bowman rode 38 group and listed winners, well clear of Kerrin McEvoy on 29. Blake Shinn had 26, Damian Lane 23 and Craig Williams 22.

Saturday’s Lightning marks the end of the black-type season in SA, but also the end of an era — in a good way.

The next Adelaide city meeting (at Morphettville on Wednesday) will be the first covered on free-to-air TV by Racing.com — punters can find it on channel 78 or 68, as well as via Foxtel and online.