Champion jockey Hugh Bowman described Winx’s sixth placing in a 900m Rosehill barrier trial as just a morning out for the world’s highest rated race mare.
Winx was making her first public appearance since winning her twenty-second consecutive race with her history making third straight win in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival and pleased Bowman and trainer Chris Waller with her performance.
Bowman settled Winx near the tail of the star studded trial field of nine that saw The Everest winner Redzel and the Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist share the lead to the home turn.
Bowman had a tight hold of Winx for most of the way but did let her extend slightly in the run to the line to finish in sixth position, two lengths from the winner Trapeze Artist.
“I didn’t ask her to do a great deal, it was pretty much a morning out for her,’’ Bowman told Racing New South Wales News.
“I couldn’t expect her to be better than what we’ve seen and for me it’s about having her happy and if she’s happy the rest will fall into place.
“I feel as though she’s more comfortable at this stage of her preparation than she was last time. Whatever the reason I don’t know but for me it’s very pleasing to see her so relaxed and happy to be back.
“It’s special to have her back. I know the engine is there under her and I’m looking forward to the next couple of months.’’
Waller will give Winx one more barrier trial over 1000m at Rosehill on February 5 before the super mare kicks off her 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign at Randwick on February 17 in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m), the same race she has won at the beginning of her 2016 and 2017 Autumn Campaigns.
“I came here looking for exactly that and my first impression is I’m very happy,’’ Waller said.
“(The result) probably puts into significance what trials are like and what horses are capable of.
“In the trial Hugh could have ridden her on a piece of cotton. She did everything right. Maybe there is a little more improvement.’’
The Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on day two of The Championships in high on the agenda while a trip to England to run at the Royal Ascot Carnival will be decided upon after Winx runs in the Group 1 $1m China Horse Club George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 24.
“She will be the best guide. We’ve given it plenty of thought but it will be after her third run this preparation – probably the George Ryder – before we talk about her future.
“She’s a freak animal and when she’s at that level how can you run faster. Every challenge we’ve given her she’s risen to.
“The Ascot picture is simply to satisfy a lot of people that want her on the other side of the world to perform. To show how good she is. But the horse comes first.’’
Winx’s history making win in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate was her twenty-second consecutive win and took her overall record to twenty-six wins from thirty-two starts and lifted her prizemoney earnings to $15,627,925.
Heat 1 Rosehill barrier trial (900m) Results
|1||8||TRAPEZE ARTIST||Gerald Ryan||James Innes Jnr||–|
|2||3||CLASSIC UNIFORM||Gary Moore||Christian Reith||0.2L|
|3||4||COMIN’ THROUGH||Chris Waller||Michael Walker||0.3L|
|4||2||BONNY O’REILLY (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Jason Collett||1.1L|
|5||1||ACE HIGH||David Payne||Tye Angland||1.2L|
|6||9||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||2L|
|7||7||REDZEL||Peter & Paul Snowden||Joshua Parr||2.7L|
|8||5||ENDLESS DRAMA (IRE)||Chris Waller||Chad Lever||3.6L|
|9||6||OKLAHOMA GIRL||Chris Waller||Yusuke Ichikawa||4.3L|