Champion mare Winx will be sporting a new look when she wears a set of ear muffs for the first time under race conditions in the Group 2 $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx is used to wearing the ear muffs pre-race in the saddling enclosure to keep her calm and then has them removed when she goes onto the track but after the glamour mare bungled the start and came out of the barriers a conspicuous last in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday week, trainer Chris Waller responded by ordering the head gear to stay on for the entire race this weekend.
“I’m pleased to be running her on Saturday because it is about ticking all the boxes and making sure she is on song for the George Main,” Waller told The Daily Telegraph this week.
“She will wear ear muffs and with them on it should ensure she jumps on terms with them.
“I want to run her in the Chelmsford so she does everything 100 per cent and that will give her confidence going into the spring.”
“We had the barrier blanket on her earlier in the week and she was fine but Hugh (Bowman) said ‘that’s her’, she is not a dangerous horse.”
“She wears the ear muffs in her trackwork and she works every day in them and it just helps block out the background noise. She wears them at the races and we take them off as soon as she leaves the parade ring (but) she will wear them in the (Chelmsford). It’s simply like wetsuit material. It blocks out 20 per cent of the sound and she will still hear 80 per cent.”
Winx was able to overcome her slow start in the Warwick Stakes and tacked onto the rest of the field approaching the home turn before Hugh Bowman eased her to the outside and she was able to run down stablemate Foxplay to record her eighteenth successive win.
The Warwick Stakes was Winx’s first run back this campaign which will take her back to The Valley to try to claim her third successive win in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) on October 28.
Winx beat Criterion by four and three quarter lengths in 2016 and gave nothing else a chance with an eight lengths victory over Hartnell last year and a third win will see her equal the legendary Kingston Town’s record of three Cox Plate victories back to back to back.
Winx is one of eight Waller trained horses among the sixteen nominations for the Chelmsford Stakes and as expected has been installed the $1.10 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The glamour mare of the Australian turf is also at an odds on quote to win her third Cox Plate with Ladbrokes.com.au listing her at $1.50, miles ahead of her nearest rival in the betting, Hartnell, at $21.
Waller is happy with the way Winx has progressed since her first up win in the Warwick Stakes and she came through a gallop on Saturday morning in fine style.
“She had a gallop (Saturday) and she worked the reverse way on the course proper at Rosehill just to mix it up,” Waller said.
“I couldn’t be happier with her.”
Early Chelmsford Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.10 Winx, $15 Foxplay, $26 He’s Our Rokkii, $31 Sense Of Occasion, Tom Melbourne, $41 Life Less Ordinary, $51 Antonio Giuseppe, Red Excitement, Sarrasin, $61 Chocante, $81 Harper’ss Choice, $101 Laqueti Spirit, Who Shot Thebarman, $201 Allergic, Zanbagh, $301 Libran.