Super star mare Winx has only raced once in Melbourne but jockey Hugh Bowman rates her better at the anticlockwise direction as she chases her twelfth straight win in the Group 1 $600,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Winx is the winner of fifteen of her twenty-one race starts, her last eleven without being defeated, but has only raced once south of the New South Wales border for a dominant win in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Winx has had two Spring Carnival runs in Sydney for a three and a half lengths win over Hartnell in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20 followed by a one and a quarter lengths win over Hauraki in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 17.
Bowman gave Winx her final hit out on Wednesday morning in the lead up to Saturday’s Ladbrokes Stakes and was very happy with the way the Street Cry mare got around the tight corners.
“I think she’s a bit more comfortable the Melbourne way of going,” Bowman told the Herald Sun.
“She likes to put her near side shoulder into the corners and then switches back to the Sydney leg to hit top gear.
“She’s felt really good going the reverse way at Rosehill for her last couple of gallops.”
Bowman said that Winx wasn’t out for a hard gallop on Wednesday but was very pleased with the mare strode out in the straight.
“It was a pretty casual gallop this morning, just basically stretched her legs and let her have a look around the track,” Bowman said.
“She did her main piece of work on Saturday morning in company, I was pleased with her then and she has travelled down well.
“She is ready to go, she is very alert, I noticed that before I got on her, in a new environment, she had the ears pricked.”
Winx has virtually scared off all opponents and will only be facing two rivals in the Ladbrokes Stakes, the Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart and Lindsay Park’s He Or She, but Bowman is not concerned at all about the smallness of the field.
“It takes the pressure off as far as riding her goes but, in saying that, I am mindful she has a big task ahead, regardless of this Saturday,” Bowman said.
“I am mindful she has to race at a premium to make sure she is ready for the main event in the Cox Plate in a couple of weeks’ time.
“Tactics go out the window in a small field. I’ll just be wherever I’m comfortable.”
Trainer Chris Waller was also happy with the way Winx strode around Caulfield and said the trip to the track was basically to let the mare get accustomed to the new surroundings.
“It might make a five per cent difference but that’s an important five per cent which could make all the difference,” Waller said.
“It’s about giving the horse a trip away from home base at Flemington. It wasn’t a workout for fitness it was simply getting used to the surroundings and it might take away a few of the butterflies for a big race.”
“She’s a bigger, stronger and more mature mare.”
“This time last year she was new and unsure of everything and not used to being under the pressure of a race like the Caulfield Stakes, or Cox Plates and Doncasters. Now she’s learnt to cope.”
Winx will jump from the outside of the three horse field while Black Heart Bart with Brad Rawiller in the saddle will come out of barrier one with Craig Williams on He Or She sandwiched in between the two multiple Group 1 winners.
In early betting for the Ladbrokes Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au since the final field was released on Wednesday, Winx has drifted out from $1.12 to be the $1.20 favourite with Black Heart Bart firming in from $5.50 to $4.80 while He Or She is the outsider of the small field at $31.