High profile jockey Hugh Bowman considers barrier five as perfect for Winx who starts her Cox Plate countdown when she resumes in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx is currently listed at $1.16 at Ladbrokes.com.au to win the race named in her honour and Bowman can see the champion mare getting a dream run from barrier five in the eleven horse field.
“She has drawn beautifully in barrier five, which is an ideal draw, and there are some nice horses that have drawn around me that I might be able to follow into the race or if I’m forward in the field they can follow me,” Bowman said.
The Winx Stakes was previously run as the Group 2 Warwick Stakes which Winx has won in the last two years and Bowman recalls last year’s version when Winx bungled the start and was well behind the second last horse in the early stages of the race but rallied when it counted and stormed home to beat her stablemate Foxplay in the shadows of the post.
Bowman is confident that won’t happen again and said that Winx is in a great frame of mind heading into her first run since winning the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on day two of The Championships on April 14 .
“She seems to be a much more mature individual now and she still seems to get a bit anxious in there, there is no doubt about it, but I’m confident we won’t have a repeat of last year,” Bowman said.
“When I watch the replay I get a little bit more agitated than I did actually riding in the race. She is in much better order this year mentally. I’ve said it before, I wasn’t all that happy with her behaviour leading into that run. She was playing up in the barriers in her trials and we saw what happened.”
Winx will have no problems handling the 1400m first up as she has done in the past but Bowman expects her to be better suited over the build up to the 2000m as she has indicated in her past campaigns.
“This is short of her best distance and 1400m is probably her most vulnerable distance, or will be for this preparation, and the reason for that is she likes to go through her gears.” Bowman said.
“The 1400m is more of a sprint distance so she doesn’t have time to settle in the early stages and build like she does in the races over further.
“It’s a little bit more tactical for us.”
The Chris Waller trained super star is lining up for her twenty-sixth straight win as well as a nineteenth Group 1 trophy as she heads towards attempting to win a fourth consecutive Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 27.
On the second line of betting at $7 is the James Cummings trained Kementari who will jump from barrier seven with Glyn Schofield in the saddle.
Schofield has had plenty of success on Kementari and rode the Lonhro stallion to a hat trick of wins during his three year old season over the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Kementari, with Schofield aboard, completed a hat trick of wins with a victory in the Group 1 $1m Mostyn Copper Group Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 10.