Jockey Hugh Bowman has revealed that he believes that Winx might be vulnerable first-up after he partnered the star mare in a barrier trial at Royal Randwick this morning.
Winx started her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an outstanding win in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12 before she went on to win the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), but she went into that race with plenty of residual fitness following her win in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m).
Chris Waller is yet to decide whether Winx will return to the races in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 13 or the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens a week later, but Bowman told The Punters Show this morning that Winx might not be able to repeat her first-up heroics this preparation.
“Judging on the trial she may take a run,” Bowman said.
“You have to remember that she only really had a let-up in the spring time, she has an Oaks campaign in Sydney, she went up to Brisbane and had an Oaks campaign up there and she had just a short let-up before the spring.
“She had a lot of residual fitness with her spring preparation and I think things could be different this time.
“Nothing would surprise me with her.”
While Bowman is unsure how Winx will fare when she returns to the races, the leading hoop was delighted with the feel that he received from the daughter of Street Cry in the barrier trial over 839 metres this morning.
Winx was kept under a heavy hold by Bowman throughout and she finished in the second half of the star-studded barrier trial, but he said that the four-year-old still showed him enough to suggest that she has returned from the spelling paddock as a stronger horse.
“She is moving very well,” Bowman said.
“She appears to me to have developed a bit physically.
“I feel that she is a stronger mare than what she was in the spring time, she has obviously spelled very well and she has come back in good order.
“She probably had a bit more of a blow today than she did after her first trial, but I asked a bit more of her this morning.”
Winx is currently available at 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds of $3.80 with Ladbrokes and she is a dominant favourite from Criterion ($11), Highland Reel ($11), Mongolian Khan ($11), Preferment ($15) and Press Statement ($15).