Premiership winning trainer Chris Waller is adamant that surgery to remove a bone chip from Winx’s near fore fetlock won’t affected the chances of the champion mare when she resumes in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx is one of nine horses nominated for the weight for age race and will be having her first run back since undergoing arthroscopic surgery following her win in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 2, the first day of ‘The Championships’.
“The simple fact is that she has always been fit and well,” Waller told racing.com.
“She has never been lame. She has never had any heat in the joint, which is always a sign of a problem.”
Waller has come in for some criticism for failing to make public that Winx had undergone surgery, but defended himself by saying that he had not broken any rules of racing and had notified the Racing New South Wales stewards at the appropriate time prior to the glamour mare returning to the race track.
“My job is to make sure she’s 100 per cent and if she’s not, I’ve got to let the stewards know,” Waller said.
“I’m not here to mislead the public, I am here to do the very best I can.”
“Any information of significance we always pass on in the time it’s expected to be passed on, and of course, we try to stay within the rules.”
Winx collected her ninth win in succession with her Doncaster Mile victory and has had two Randwick barrier trials in preparation for her 2016 Spring Carnival campaign which will include her defence of the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Winx stunned the racing world when she made the rest of the country’s weight for age gallopers look second rate when she recorded a four and three quarter lengths win in the Weight For Age Championship of Australasia during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival with regular rider Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Waller said that he has been pleased with Winx’s two barrier trials over 850m even though the five year old mare was unextended to finished fourth in both outings.
“It was good to get her through the trial, we are gradually getting her fitness levels up, which is always difficult at this time of year,” Waller said after Winx’s trial at Randwick on August 9.
“Hughie just kept a good hold of her, she wasn’t out to break any records, he was happy and therefore I am happy.
“It has been a carefully-planned program getting her to this stage and fortunately everything has gone to plan, it is when you start missing trials and missing gallops that is when you start to come under pressure.
“She is exactly where she needs to be.”
The Australian Turf Club has extend the nomination deadline for the Warwick Stakes until 11am on Tuesday August 16, 2016 after only nine horses were entered this morning.
Seven of the nine early entrants will be facing the starter for the first time this Spring Carnival while The Lindsay Park trained Dibayani and Rebel Dane from the Gary Portelli stable have the benefit of one run under their belts heading into Saturday’s race.
Dibayani ran second to Sooboog in the Group 3 $150,000 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on August 6 while Rebel Dane ran a good first up second to Tycoon Tara in the Group 2 $175,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the same day.
Waller has provided more than half the entrants for the Warwick Stakes and as well as Winx, has nominated Group 1 winners Grand Marshall, Preferment, Vanburgh and Who Shot Thebarman.
The other two nominations are John O’Shea’s Group 1 winner Hartnell and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina.
Early betting for the Warwick Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Winx as the $1.50 favourite ahead of Lucia Valentina at $5.50 and Rebel Dane at $6.50.
Warwick Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.50 Winx, $5.50 Lucia Valentina, $6.50 Rebel Dane, $8 Dibayani, $11 Hartnell, $18 Vanburgh, $26 Preferment, $81 Grand Marshall, Who Shot Thebarman.