Trainer Chris Waller was completely happy with glamour mare Winx after she finished third in a 1000m Rosehill barrier trial today in preparation for her 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival debut in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 11.
Hugh Bowman settled Winx near the tail of the nine horse field and let her make up ground out wide on the course proper without being pushed out to finish two and a half lengths behind the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Nancy who beat Sacred Master by a head.
“Just getting the basics right. That what happened, finished off very well and as a result we are very happy with this morning’s trial,” Waller said.
“Very similar to her first trial.”
Winx had trialled two weeks ago at Rosehill over 900m for a similar result when third behind Music Magnate and Endless Drama.
Waller has mapped out a four run Autumn Carnival campaign for the Street Cry mare and said that she is at the right stage of her preparation that will peak when she runs in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8, day two of ‘The Championships’.
In between the Apollo Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Winx will run in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 25 and the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 18.
Today’s trial saw Winx do exactly what Waller and Bowman needed her to do at the start of another tough campaign that could see her stretch her winning run to seventeen and defend her crown after recently being named the best racehorse in the world on turf at Longines World’s Best Racehorse Awards in London last week.
“She is at the start of her long preparation, an important preparation to defend her crown as the world’s best horse on turf,” Waller said.
“She was just there to stretch her legs, gets the lungs moving. It is a very warm day in Sydney today and very mindful of that not to overtax any horse, let alone Winx.”
“She just went through the motions, made sure she got into a nice position, comfortable, getting her breathing right.”
“Everything is basic for a horse like Winx, so important for any horse at any stage of career.”
“Just getting the basics right. That what happened, finished off very well and as a result we are very happy with this morning’s trial.”
Waller said that the intensity of Winx’s trial today was marginally more than her trial a fortnight ago and she will be ready for the 1400m of the Apollo Stakes.
“Very similar to the first trial, maybe an extra five per cent if you can quantify it,” Waller said.
“Out on the course proper, the actual racing surface, it stimulates them in itself, an extra 100m metres, still 400m short of what she needs to race over in the Apollo Sakes on the 11th of February.
“Certainly just a little more and we can increase the intensity if required in her training leading up to that first up run.”
Bowman said that he could feel that extra fitness in Winx today and the dual Cox Plate winner is ready to return to the race track in the Apollo Stakes.
“She feels good. She felt a little more forward for this morning’s heat,” Bowman said.
“Again we didn’t ask her to do a lot but there’s a little bit of moisture in the ground so she enjoyed that.”
“If you watch her over the final stages you’d have seen her stretching out really nicely, so ready for the races now.”
Winx is undefeated since winning the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast during the 2015 Queensland Winter Carnival with nine Group 1 victories among her thirteen consecutive wins which includes back to back wins in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2015 and 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
In early betting for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au, Winx is the dominant favourite at $1.80 with Hartnell the second pick at $11 in front of Omei Sword at $17 and The United States at $21.
Early betting for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.80 Winx, $11 Hartnell, $17 Omei Sword, $21 The United States, $26 Black Heart Bart, Comin’ Through, Jameka, Prized Icon, Sacred Elixir, Tosen Stardom, Yankee Rose, $31 Bondi Beach, Divine Prophet, Exospheric, Sir Isaac Newton.