Jockey Hugh Bowman has admitted that he has no conceived pre-race plan at the moment for Winx as she chases her twentieth straight win in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx completed her final piece of fast work at Rosehill this morning with Bowman in the saddle and the premiership winning rider had another glowing report for the Chris Waller trained mare.
“She is in great order, very strong this morning. I worked her here on Tuesday morning as well and she did a little more on Tuesday,” Bowman said.
“She seems to be more relaxed to me now as we get into the middle of her preparation which is encouraging.”
Winx had to dig deep at her two runs this Spring campaign for a first up victory over her stablemate Foxplay in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 19 and then had to chase hard to run down the tearaway leader Red Excitement to record her nineteenth straight win in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 2.
Bowman said that he would have to see how the George Main Stakes pans out in the early part of the race and also work out how the track is playing before he can conceive a pre-race plan.
“First things, first and we’ll see how the track is playing. It’s impossible for me to predict a pattern here this morning (Thursday),” Bowman said.
“If I need to ride a race to suit the pattern of the day, then so be it but I won’t be trying to pre-empt anything yet.”
“I don’t think they are reinventing the wheel to try and beat her. Red Excitement the other day, they rode the horse to his strengths. Everyone is out there to win but I don’t think rival connections are trying to bring her demise.”
“It was a credit to Josh Parr and the horse to run the race they did. It was a really interesting race and one I had to think about a lot more than usual because of the way it was run. They are throwing everything at us.
“Red Excitement had quite a break on us but when she spotted that horse in front we motored and his run was probably ending as he had made a sustained gallop from the 1000m mark. Not even Winx can go all day. No horse can run forever.”
The Gerald Ryan trained Red Excitement with Josh Parr in the saddle again will get another chance to try to lower the colours of Winx but another daring front running ride from Parr could be ambushed with regular pacemaker Ecuador also in the mix.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Ecuador, with Adam Hyeronimus in the saddle, is a noted front runner as well and it will be interesting to see how the battle up front with Red Excitement pans out.
Winx has drawn the rails in the eight horse George Main Stakes field and will be wearing the ears muffs for a second time in a race.
The ear muffs were a fixture on Winx in all of her track work and pre-race parade, but Waller decided to leave them on her for the Chelmsford Stakes to try to mend her barrier manners that almost cost her the race when she was slow to leave the starting gates in the Warwick Stakes and was several lengths behind the second last horse in the early and middle stages.
Winx’s main Spring Carnival mission is to win a third successive Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 28 and will have one more run after the George Main Stakes as her final lead up to the ‘Weight For Age Championship’.
Waller is still undecided if she will stay in Sydney for the Group 3 $500,000 Craven Plate (200m) at Randwick on October 14 or head to Melbourne on the same day for the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
If Waller sticks to that plan Winx will miss running in the Group 2 $500,000 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 30.
Winx has dominated betting again at Ladbrokes.com.au and is the very short $1.09 favourite for the George Main Stakes on Thursday morning with her nearest rival in the market order being the Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper at $12.