Champion mare Winx is ready to live up to the expectation of winning twenty-one races in a row when she lines up in the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Regular rider Hugh Bowman said that a dappled up Winx felt nice and relaxed when he held her down to three-quarter pace on the steeple grass at Flemington this morning and said that he is starting to fell the pressure of keeping the winning momentum going.
“Now every race is a pressure race really,” Bowman said.
“I’ll be perfectly honest, I didn’t really feel it until this preparation because even up until the Queen Elizabeth Stakes win in the autumn she was doing it so comfortably.
“And I never felt as though there was a possibility of it happening, to be honest.
“And up until 15 or 16 wins it didn’t really concern me if she did get beaten. For me it was about the process of getting her to peak on the big days.
“But now there is expectation that she will win and I’m like everyone else, I can’t ignore that. It’s certainly added more spice to the process.”
Winx has been made to work hard to keep her latest undefeated run intact in her last three starts during the 2017 Spring Carnival with three wins at Randwick in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m), in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m).
Winx has settled into her Melbourne surroundings at Flemington in a relaxed style and both Bowman and trainer Chris Waller are happy with the way she galloped on the course proper at Flemington on Monday morning.
Bowman also added that he thought Winx felt more comfortable galloping in the Melbourne direction.
“In my opinion she actually prefers leading with her Melbourne leg – her near-side,” he said. “She just seems to be more comfortable going through her gears when she’s leading through her near-side.”
Winx will be having her first race start at Flemington in the Turnbull Stakes and Bowman is confident that she will be suited by the big open spaces.
“I think it’s the best track in Australia,” Bowman said.
“It’s a very fair racetrack and the best horse wins generally at Flemington most of the time so let’s hope that happens on the weekend.”
Winx has drawn barrier two in the seven horse Turnbull Stakes field with her main rival Humidor coming out of gate four with Damian Lane in the saddle.
The Darren Weir trained Humidor was back in the winner’s stall last start with an emphatic victory in the Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16.