Trainer Chris Waller has Winx fit enough to tackle the mile first up when she makes a belated return to the race track for the Autumn Carnival in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx was originally scheduled to make her Autumn Carnival debut in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 17 but when regular rider Hugh Bowman was unavailable to ride her due to a careless riding suspension, Waller put pack the champion mare’s reappearance by two weeks.
Instead the three times Cox Plate winner went around in a specially convened 1200m barrier trial against five of her stablemates in between races at Randwick on Apollo Stakes Race Day.
Winx won the trial handsomely and Waller said he has her fit enough to tackle the 1600m of the Chipping Norton Stakes first up as she chases her third straight win in the weight for the age race as well as her twenty-third win on the trot.
“The trial has brought her on and she is ready to go to the Chipping Norton,” Waller told AAP.
“She has had a very good week since then and we couldn’t be happier.”
Winx will also be taking on several of her stablemates again in the Chipping Norton Stakes which could also include Apollo Stakes winner Endless Drama.
“Who Shot Thebarman, Libran, Comin’ Through and McCreery are all likely to be there and possibly Endless Drama,” Waller said.
“We’ll look at the make-up of the field before deciding whether Endless Drama runs or not.”
Bowman was aboard Winx in her trial at Randwick on Apollo Stakes Day and said that he thinks she could have been tricked into thinking she was in a real race in the way that she accelerated in the straight in front of the crowd.
“She might have been tricked into thinking it was a race because she certainly responded as if it was a race day and not like she would in a trial,’’ Bowman said.
“She travelled well but was left a little flat-footed at the 600m and understandably so over 1200m.”
“But from the 300m she was back to her normal self and that competitive spirit really burned the last 200m.”
Bowman returned to the saddle last Saturday at Rosehill on Hobartville Stakes Day without a winner but will be back to full fitness this week when he throws his leg over the mighty mare prior to the running of the Chipping Norton Stakes.
Winx will be having her first run back since making history during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival by scoring a third consecutive win in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley which equalled Kingston Town’s long standing record of three straight Cox Plate wins and took her winning sequence to twenty-two.
Pre-nomination betting for the Chipping Norton Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Winx as the $1.12 favourite ahead of Hartnell at $17 and her three stablemates Comin’ Through, Endless Drama and Foxplay at $21.