Trainer Chris Waller has revealed that Winx will head towards the 2015 Epsom Handicap after she returns to the races in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Winx stamped herself as a stayer to watch when she finished second in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and scored a dominant victory in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Doomben on May 30, but Waller made the surprise decision not to include her in the first acceptances for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) that were released earlier in the week.
Waller said that Winx have proven that she can run out a strong 2400 metres, but he is happy to keep her to shorter trips during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he indicated that she will be an excellent chance in the Epsom Handicap.
“She is a better horse than (in the autumn) she was then,” Waller said.
“She gets 2400, but I reckon she will get a mile in the Epsom.”
Winx stamped herself as a horse to watch when she scored an upset win over Earthquake in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 last year and she was only denied by First Seal in both the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 and the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at the same venue on October 4.
Waller is confident that she is a much better horse than she was 12 months ago and he believes that the daughter of Street Cry can start her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a win in the 2015 Theo Marks Stakes this weekend.
“She has come back terrific and she is a good horse,” Waller said.
“I know that she only beat Queensland horses, but I just think that she has a bit more than that.
“She was a length off First Seal, who I thought was one of the best horses in Australia in the first part of last year and I reckon Winx has got to that level now herself.
“We will see that this preparation and she is a fair dinkum horse.”
Winx is currently available at 2015 Theo Marks Stakes odds of $4 with Ladbrokes and she is favourite from the well-backed Vashka ($4.80), Team Hawkes-trained Messene ($6), the resuming Strawberry Boy ($9), Queen Of The Turf Stakes winner Amanpour ($12) and the consistent Ninth Legion ($12).