Trainer Chris Waller is confident that Winx will be able to handle the heatwave conditions expected to hit Randwick on Saturday when she lines up for her first 2017 Autumn Carnival outing in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m).
The Bureau Of Meteorology has predicted a high of 39 degrees for the Sydney area on Saturday and Waller said that he will rely on Racing New South Wales putting into effect their Racing In Hot Weather Policy.
“They have good racing policies in the heat, so the horses aren’t exposed to the extreme of the sun for too long,” Waller told racing.com.
“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 had a solid hit out on Tuesday morning at Rosehill with stablemate Preferment and had an easier final gallop this morning and Waller is very satisfied that the champion mare is ready to return to the race track for the first time since winning her second Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“I’m very satisfied with this morning’s work going into the Apollo Stakes on Saturday,” Waller reported.
“It’s always a little bit of a concern where she’s at, like any sportsperson, she’s six months older than when she had her last prep.
“Just a few minor little changes, [she is] a bit stronger, a bit heavier, but she’s come together well, and I couldn’t be happier with the way her preparation’s gone.”
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 champion mare has barrier trialled twice for two thirds at Rosehill in her preparation for the Apollo Stakes and both Waller and regular rider Hugh Bowman were satisfied with her efforts and Bowman is certain to give Winx every chance from barrier two in the twelve horse Apollo Stakes field.
Waller has mapped out a four race Autumn Carnival program for Winx and after the Apollo Stakes she will run in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 25 followed by the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 18.
Winx’s final Autumn Carnival appearance will be on day two of ‘The Championships’ when she lines up in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8.
Winx completely dominates the betting for the Apollo Stakes and is the $1.12 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au well ahead of her nearest rival Hartnell at $9.50.