Cox Plate winner Winx returned to the races with a fighting victory over Solicit in the 2016 Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Solicit took up the running in the early stages of the race and Kerrin McEvoy made sure that the race was run at a genuine tempo, while Hugh Bowman elected to settle Winx in the first half of the field.
Winx cruised up to her rivals without being asked for an extra effort from Bowman, but she took a while to get past Solicit – who was up for the fight – before she proved too good in the final 100 metres of the race.
Trainer Chris Waller revealed in the lead-up to the Apollo Stakes that he was very keen to see Winx return to the races as winner and he told the media after the race that he believes it is important for racing to keep her winning.
“Today is one of the most nervous I’ve been in recent years,” Waller said.
“There is a sense of importance about this horse that is almost on the cusp of being a superstar and I feel it is important for racing to keep them winning.
“I just think every time about Pete Moody and Black Caviar and what he must have gone through.
“I just think that it is fantastic for racing and I hope that everyone is with us.
“Every race is important now and the Queen Elizabeth is the bonus because of the big prizemoney.
“Every race will be taken very seriously and I would say that it will be a Group 1 next start that she is running in and hopefully she can get that.”
Bowman was always keen to ride Winx close to the speed in the Apollo Stakes and he admitted after the race that he did not want to give Solicit too much of a start coming into the straight.
The talented hoop was happy with the way that Winx responded when she was asked for an extra effort and he believes that the daughter of Street Cry still has plenty of improvement left in front of her as she builds towards the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
“I started to feel as though we were here for an occasion when everybody started lining the fences to take a photo of her on the way out,” Bowman said.
“She has really drawn the attention of everyone in racing and beyond.
“It is early on for her, she is still in the infancy of her career I think and she put the writing on the wall in the spring.
“It is a good return and hopefully she can continue on this path.
“The pace was genuine and I expected it might have been because I have ridden Solicit and I know her well.
“I knew that she was here and she was fit and well to make it a bit of a test.
“I was mindful that it might have been like that and in the middle stages I thought that I was getting a little too far out of touch.
“I needed to do that to keep my mare comfortable and she didn’t let me down when I needed her.
“She has had a good sweat and she is only going to improve as the distances increase.”
Winx has now recorded six victories on the trot and has not suffered a defeat since she finished second behind Gust Of Wind in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) in April last year.