Trainer Chris Waller has described his stable ace Winx as being “picture perfect” for her shot at a 24th consecutive turf triumph in the 2018 George Ryder Stakes on Saturday.
Waller spoke to Sky Racing last Saturday after the champion daughter of Street Cry was put through her paces in a gallop between races at Rosehill on Coolmore Classic Day.
Winx had Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle and not regular rider Hugh Bowman who took until Monday to pass a final fitness clearance to ride this weekend after his horror fall from Performer in the Todman Stakes on March 10.
Waller was full of post-gallop praise for Winx who looked cherry ripe for her second-up run in the Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) this weekend.
“She’s exactly where we need her to be,” he said.
“We saw how good she was first-up and we often see her go into a career rating at her second-up run so that’s when she’s at her best.”
A five-time winner from six starts at Rosehill Gardens, Winx dually defends her George Ryder Stakes title having defeated Kermadec by one and half lengths in 2016 and Le Romain by over seven lengths on a Heavy (10) track last autumn.
In her delayed first-up appearance Winx was a seven length winner of the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on March 3, a race she also won in 2016 and 2017, and Waller said the gallop on Saturday was crucial to have her spot-on for her next race.
“Simply maintenance work. Making sure she’s not getting above herself,” he explained last Saturday.
“Very similar to a sporting team.
“Three weeks between games is not perfect, but today’s like a game for her, she’s come out and had a day out.
“You’ll see her picture perfect next Saturday.”
She is now the odds-on favourite in George Ryder Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and Waller believes it is definitely the right race for her again.
“It’s a good race for her. She set the world ranking record in that race for grass racing last year and that to me shows it’s the right stage of her preparation,” he said.
“Home track, right distance, yeah she’ll be ready to go.”
Winx not only chases her 24th win on the trot in the George Ryder Stakes, but also looks to set a new world Group 1 flat racing record with 17 victories surpassing the current 16 she shares with American 1980’s champ John Henry.
The Waller camp will make a decision based on her Saturday form as to whether or not Winx heads to England for the Royal Ascot carnival this June.
Bowman meanwhile jumped back in the saddle of his favourite horse Winx in Tuesday morning track work and said she felt her best yet.
“It was good to be back in the saddle, certainly great to be back on board Winx. She felt better than ever this morning,” he told RSN927.