Champion jockey Hugh Bowman believes that Winx is on track to defend her Cox Plate title after she kicked off her 2018 Spring Carnival campaign with a soft barrier trial at Rosehill today.
Bowman said after the trial that Winx would benefit greatly from her outing after finishing seventh to She Will Reign, when not fully extended, in the 900m trial on the Rosehill course proper.
“She felt good – felt really good,” Bowman racing.com.
“It’s the start of a new prep its exciting for us all and I couldn’t have been happier with her this morning.
“She had a good blow this morning after the trial which was good to see.
“I’ve done three pieces of work on her at home and she blew more this morning than in any of those pieces of work at home.
“It’s good to have her back and well. There was a fair bit of nervous energy running through her veins when she got to the enclosure and I got on her, which was good to see.
“She was a little bit anxious in the barriers which was not unusual although I don’t want her to be too fractious on race day.
“It was good to see those competitive juices flowing through her so she’s excited to be back and so are we.”
Trainer Chris Waller was equally impressed with Winx’s return to the public eye for the first time this preparation and she is on track to make her race track reappearance in the race that has been re-named in her honour, Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 18.
“It’ll help me settle down. We’re still 30 days out from her first-up run,” Waller told Racing NSW News Desk.
“There’s still fine tuning to do but I was really happy with what I saw this morning.”
“It was great to just see her stretching out nicely for the last 100m. She will take a lot of fitness benefits from this working workout.”
“Condition wise she is fantastic, hasn’t got out of shape. Her track work is fantastic, Hughie gave her the thumbs up, said she feels great.”
“She will trial again and get a little bit closer and when the pressure is on in the race she will be there fit and ready to go.”
“That’s when we need her to perform. Winning trials makes everybody feel happy but you have to respect their fitness levels are still coming up.”
“We would like to get through to certain targets in the Spring, the Cox Plate and other races prior to that. It will just be one run at a time and we will look after Winx.”
Winx is the winner of her last twenty-five starts which includes eighteen at Group 1 level and the extraordinary mare created history when she equalled the legendary Kingston Town’s record of three consecutive Cox Plate victories when she beat the Darren Weir trained Humidor in the 2017 weight for age championship during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The 2018 Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 27 will be Winx’s main Spring Carnival goal again.
35 starts, 29 wins, 3 seconds, 0 thirds.
18 Group 1 wins.
Total prizemoney earnings: $18,998,424
Early betting for the 2018 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.55 Winx, $15 Humidor, $26 Accidental Agent, Benbatl, D’Agento, Gailo Chop, Happy Clapper, Roaring Lion, Unforgotten, $31 Grunt, Kementari, Youngstar, $41 Johannes Vermeer, Levendi, Rekindling, $51 or better the rest.