Leading Group 1 rider Hugh Bowman believes that the Group 1 $1m China Horse Club George Ryder (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday will be the most competitive race that Winx has contested for a long time.
Australia’s super mare Winx is lining up for her sixteen straight win and even though Bowman thinks the Chris Waller trained mare is almost at her Cox Plate winning best, he says that she will still have to work hard to claim her eleventh Group 1 trophy.
“She’s starting to get to a level that she was when she won the Cox Plate last year. So that to me is very exciting,” Bowman told AAP.
“In saying that though I think the George Ryder will probably the most competitive event for her in some time.
“The fact is it’s 1500 metres so it’s probably short of her best distance and she’s going to take on some serious competition in Chautauqua, Le Romain and others.
“I think those two horses put the writing on the wall in the Canterbury Stakes the other day that they’re up for the challenge.
“We’re going to know where we’re at anyway.”
The George Ryder will be Winx’s third run in a four race Sydney Autumn Carnival program that will climax with the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8, day two of ‘The Championships’.
Winx has given nothing else a look in at her two Autumn runs to date, a first up win in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 13 followed by an effortless two lengths win on a heavy track in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 25.
Waller has dropped Winx back in distance to the 1500m of the George Ryder before stepping back up to the 2000m of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Winx has drawn barrier eight in the nine horse George Ryder field and will again step out as the odds on favourite and is currently marked at $1.20 at Ladbrokes.com.au with the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua the only other runner under double figures at $7.50.
Chautauqua is stepping up to the 1500m for the first time and is coming off a last start nose second to Le Romain in the Group 1 $500,000 BMW Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 4.
The Kris Lees trained Le Romain is also in the George Ryder field to take on the mighty Winx and is next in the betting at $11.