Stand-in jockey Kerrin McEvoy said that Winx felt fantastic after he partnered her in an exhibition gallop last Saturday in preparation for the 2018 Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill this weekend.
McEvoy temporarily donned Winx’s blue and white colours for an exhibition gallop in between races at Rosehill after regular rider Hugh Bowman was unavailable while recovering from a heavy fall from the mighty mare’s stablemate Performer in the straight in the Group 2 $300,000 UNSW Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 10.
Bowman has to be cleared to ride by the doctors this week and is set to re-unite with Winx in the George Ryder Stakes, but McEvoy was thrilled to get another feel of the history making mare.
“I’ve ridden her twice previously and that is the best she has felt for me,’’ McEvoy told The Daily Telegraph.
“She feels likes she has come on from her first-up win, she is in fantastic order.’’
Winx stretched out nicely in the straight on the course proper after working off from around the back of the course and trainer Chris Waller said the solid workout was what she needed as she chased her twenty-fourth win in a row in the in the weight for age George Ryder Stakes.
“We are happy with today’s (Saturday) work, it’s the same as we have done every time she has had a three week gap between runs,’’ Waller said.
“This was a good piece of work to stimulate her, and a good piece of work to help keep her settled and that is what I’m here for, to make sure she is right and nice and relaxed.’’
“I spoke to Hugh (Saturday) morning and he said he was feeling great.’’
“Hugh sits his test on Monday and he is very confident he will pass. We have got to remember that seven days ago he was the fittest man around so it is not as if he has lost any fitness. He has done everything right and with a very measured approach.’’
“I’m very happy with her going into the George Ryder although there is always a question mark about her coming back from a mile (1600m in the Chipping Norton Stakes) to 1500m.’’
The three times Cox Plate winner has only had one run back from a spell for a first up win in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 3, and as well as trying to stretch her winning sequence to twenty-four, she is also chasing a hat trick of George Ryder Stakes wins.
“With only the one lead-up run, I think she is better,’’ Waller said.
“She ran a really high rating in the Ryder last year and I think she is ready to do something similar next Saturday.’’