Trainer Chris Waller admits that he is feeling the pressure of the general public expecting Winx to win again as she attempts to claim her fourth successive Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx will be lining up to secure a twenty-third Group 1 win if she can stretch her winning streak to thirty-one as her racing career edges closer to the finish.
“Most of the general public that are now following her expect her to win and we probably feel that pressure more than anything,” Waller said.
“It probably only means the same as her fifth win or her sixth win. It’s just been one thing after another with Winx.
“Whether that be winning a race twice, three times, four times, you name it.
“The winning sequence is realistically irrelevant.”
Waller has announced that the 2019 Sydney Autumn Carnival will be Winx’s last campaign and the seven year old mare looked like a spritely three year old as she overhauled her opposition in her first run back from a spell to win her third Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 16.
The four times Cox Plate winner wrapped up preparation for the Chipping Norton Stakes with a gallop alongside of her stablemate Unforgotten at Rosehill this morning and the super star mare is at the unbackable odds of $1.08 at Ladbrokes.com.au for the 1600m weight for age race.
Regular race day jockey Hugh Bowman was aboard Winx for her gallop this morning and while she was unextended, he said that her work on Tuesday morning was exceptional.
“She is just different,” Bowman said.
“I got that feeling on Tuesday morning when I worked with Unforgotten.
“Her work was exceptional.
“I can honestly say Unforgotten is probably the best horse Winx has worked with and yeah, Unforgotten worked really well but Winx just did it as she does on raceday.
“She’s just got gears that other horses don’t have.
“The maturity and the knowledge we have as to where she’s at these days, she could probably do it without me, in fact I’m sure she could but someone’s got to ride her so I guess I’ll have to do that.”
Waller has two more races in the pipeline for Winx before retirement and the glamour mare will step out in the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 23 before her swansong in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Day Two of The Championships on April 13.
Winx has drawn barrier four in the seven horse Chipping Norton Stakes field with the nearest to her in the betting at $7 is the multiple Group 1 winner Happy Clapper who has drawn next to Winx at barrier three with Blake Shinn in the saddle.
The remainder of the field is made up of Winx’s stablemate, Patrick Erin (Corey Brown, barrier 2), Libran (Glyn Schofield, 6), Brimham Rocks (Tommy Berry, 7), Egg Tart (Brenton Avdulla, 5) and Unforgotten (Kerrin McEvoy, 1).