High profile jockey Hugh Bowman can see Winx getting a beautiful run from barrier four in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx is stepping out for the second time this Autumn Carnival as she chased her fifteenth win on the trot following her first up win in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 13.
“With barrier 4 on Saturday, it’s a beautiful draw for her… and the race looks like it’s going to set up well for her,” Bowman told G1X.
“She’s more relaxed in her demeanour and that suggests to me she’s where she needs to be at this stage of the preparation.”
“I think she has certainly come on from her first-up run.”
“She is a bit stronger in her work and a bit more relaxed in her demeanour so that suggests to me she is where she needs to be.
“I was quite vocal in my thoughts that she was quite away from where she was leading into the Cox Plate (ahead of) her first-up run but I feel like she has really progressed since the Apollo Stakes.”
“This morning was nothing more than stretching the legs and have all the cameras watching her to show that she is on track and I think she is.”
Winx will be sent out as a short priced favourite again in the Chipping Norton Stakes and on Thursday morning was marked at $1.12 at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Trainer Chris Waller couldn’t be happier with the champion mare’s condition going into Saturday’s weight for age race second up and said that she pulled up well after an easy hit out on Thursday morning at Rosehill after doing her major piece of work for the week on Tuesday.
“She had a fairly solid gallop on Tuesday so she didn’t have to do too much this morning,” Waller said.
“Physically I couldn’t be happier, she maintained her weight… (that) suggests she’s muscled up and strengthened up a little bit more.”
Hartnell (barrier 10) is the closest to Winx in the betting for the Chipping Norton Stakes at $8 and even though his trainer John O’Shea can’t see him turning the tables on Winx after finishing second to her at their last three meetings, Waller said that he is still respectful of the English import’s ability.
“(Hartnell) still deserves respect. It’s always easy to go in as the underdog and maybe they’re just trying to catch us off our guard,” Waller said.
The last three times the two have met Hartnell had to be content with the runner’s up cheque in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2016 Spring Carnival and when they resumed from a spell in the Apollo Stakes.
Winx hasn’t been defeated since winning the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast during the 2015 Queensland Winter Carnival and along the way the champion mare has collected nine Group 1 trophies which includes the 2015 and 2016 Cox Plates.