Trainer Chris Waller said that Winx is ‘ready to go’ as he delivered the last word before the dual Cox Plate winner kicks of her 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx will be chasing her fourteenth win in succession after being undefeated since winning the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast during the 2015 Queensland Winter Carnival and along the way the champion mare has collected nine Group 1 trophies which include the 2015 and 2016 Group 1 $3m Cox Plates (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
The new darling of the Australian Turf has had two barrier trials in preparation for her return to the track in the Apollo Stakes and Waller said that there is nothing more he can do to have her ready and isn’t losing any sleep in the build up.
“We are ready to go, a little bit anxious but looking forward to a good preparation ahead with Winx,” Waller told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“I am a good sleeper, everything is done so there is not much you can change in the middle of the night.”
Regular rider Hugh Bowman will again partner Winx who will jump from barrier two in the Apollo Stakes.
Added to the pressure of keeping her winning run intact is the fact that Winx will equal the legendary Phar Lap’s consecutive winning record of fourteen straight if she can beat her opposition in the Apollo Stakes.
“Obviously Phar Lap was in different circumstances. Was an out and out freak, he used to back up week in and week out, all distances. Winx probably gets looked after a lot differently,” Waller said.
“If she can do that it is another talking point I suppose and it gets a bit repetitive with Winx, I can only say so much about her.”
Winx will be having her first race start since winning her second Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival and Waller said that the Street Cry mare has had a faultless preparation which included two thirds in two barrier trials at Rosehill on January 17 and January 31
“She always worked well and everything seems to be straight forward so far any way and let’s hope it stays that way for a while yet,” Waller said.
Waller expects the Randwick track to dry out considerably by the time the Apollo Stakes jumps after it was rated a heavy 9 on Wednesday as a result of the deluge Sydney received on Tuesday and on Friday morning it was rated a Soft 7.
“They are saying that it will dry out nicely. We had a lot of rain in the early part of the week,” Waller said.
“It was basically a downpour, not like days of rain in a row. A solid 100mm in about an hour or two and therefore it was saturated but we have had really good drying since then, today and tomorrow and it is going to be a very hot so I say we will be racing on a track on the better side of soft.”
The Bureau Of Meteorology has forecast a scorching 39 degrees for Sydney on Saturday but Waller is confident that Racing New South Wales’ Hot Weather Policy will be adequate to keep Winx and all the horses racing on the day comfortable.
“They have good racing policies in the heat, so the horses aren’t exposed to the extreme of the sun for too long,” Waller said.
“They have a short parade – they’re basically only out on the track for about 10 minutes, and then back in the stalls.
“They can then have a shower and ice baths.
“There’s plenty of thought that goes into the day, it’s not perfect but very safe.”
Winx completely dominates the betting for the Apollo Stakes and is the $1.14 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au well ahead of her nearest rival Hartnell at $9.50.