A Saturday week race return for Chris Waller’s champion mare Winx could be delayed if the wet tracks in Sydney remain for Warwick Stakes Day.
Last weekend’s Royal Randwick meeting was run on a Heavy (10), but Waller is hopeful fine weather between now and August 20 will see firming going for the first-up run of his six-time Group 1 winner.
“I wouldn’t run her on a Heavy 10, but I’ve never seen it that wet (as last Saturday), fortunately the weather is starting to improve already, we are getting some longer days and some good sunlight, I’m sure it will be fine,” Waller told Racing Victoria.
Street Cry mare Winx is scheduled to make her four-year-old and spring debut in the $250,000 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) as she heads towards a Cox Plate title defence in Melbourne this October.
Only a very rain-affected track will see a change of plans Waller said after the mare’s cruisy Randwick trial on Tuesday morning.
“I don’t want to go in to the depths of where we will run or where we won’t run but provided it is safe she will be running first-up in the Warwick Stakes on August 20,” the record-breaking horseman added.
Last seen winning the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) by an emphatic two lengths as the odds-on favourite on April 2 during Sydney’s ‘The Championships’, Winx has now had two official trials ahead of her highly anticipated return where she’ll be shooting for her 10th win on the trot.
The first produced a fourth over 850m on July 29 behind Hong Kong expat Smart Volatility.
She ran an easy fourth again on Tuesday morning at the Kensington Track over the same distance this time behind Boss Lane, her regular rider Hugh Bowman settling her midfield before coasting to the finish like without pressure.
“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.
“Unfortunately the last couple of days have been bitter in Sydney, the track wasn’t too bad, it was safe at least, and 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, to have the luxury of another 10 or so days before her first-up run that is a bonus too, it allows us to get a couple of hard gallops in to her if we need too, I don’t think we do, I think she is about where she needs to be.”
All going to plan and Waller will run his $6.67 million earner second-up on September 3 in the $250,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) before tackling the $500,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) a fortnight later – a race he has won three times in the past four years.
Waller’s first George Main Stakes winner was Shoot Out (2012) before he claimed back-to-back editions with Sacred Falls (2014) and Kermadec (2015).
A trip south to Melbourne is then on the cards for Winx who will defend her title in Moonee Valley’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) on October 22.
She already pays a short $2.70 as the firm pre-field favourite in Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au following last week’s nominations for Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.