Winx is a dominant favourite to take out the 2016 Apollo Stakes and jockey Hugh Bowman believes that she is a stronger mare ahead of her return to racing in the Group 2 event.
Bowman steered Winx to outstanding victories in both the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he told Racing Ahead this morning that he believes the Street Cry mare could be even better ahead of her 2016 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign that will get underway in the Apollo Stakes.
“I am looking forward to her racing,” Bowman said.
“I’ve been on her back a couple of times this prep, she has had a couple of trials and galloped between races last Saturday.
“I don’t ride her in work very often, but I did go out and gallop her on Tuesday morning as well.
“She has really tightened up since the trial and she is ready to go.
“She certainly feels very smooth and the engine is still there, but the thing that I can notice is that she has strengthened up.
“She is a stronger mare than she was.
“She is still not a big mare, but she has strengthened up through the shoulders and the hindquarters.
“With that added strength we are all hoping that she has improved a little, but she doesn’t really need to.
“As long as she comes back fit and healthy I am very excited about the prospects of what is in store this prep.”
Winx is set to start the 2016 Apollo Stakes as a very short-priced favourite and Bowman believes that the Cox Plate winner is more than worthy of her current quote.
Bowman is confident that Winx has a significant edge over the rest of the Apollo Stakes field and he revealed that he will likely settle the four-year-old in the first half of the field in the early stages of the race.
“A lot of the field are horses that are going to want further and aren’t suited at weight-for-age,” Bowman said.
“Solicit to me looks the main danger and she is a good horse, but she is not in the same class as Winx.
“From barrier one I can just be where I land, it could be midfield or it could be closer.”
Winx is currently available at 2016 Apollo Stakes odds of $1.50 with Ladbrokes and she is a dominant favourite from Solicit ($5.50), Dibayani ($9), Leebaz ($16) and Centre Pivot ($17).