Premiership winning trainer Chris Waller has declared his champion mare Winx is on track to return to the race track in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20 despite undergoing arthroscopic surgery on her near fore fetlock.
Waller advised Racing New South Wales stewards yesterday that Winx had a bone chip removed from her near fore fetlock on April 11, nine days after winning the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’.
The leading trainer was interviewed by stewards yesterday and Racing NSW released the following statement outlining the time line of Winx’s procedure and her subsequent recovery.
- 2 April 2016 – Winx finished 1st in The Star Doncaster Mile.
• 5 April 2016 – Stewards were advised that Winx would not start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on 9 April 2016, as he was of the view that the mare had experienced a demanding run in The Star Doncaster Mile and because of this was concerned with backing her up within 7 days on another testing track.
• 6 April 2016 – As a matter of routine, Mr Waller requested a complete veterinary examination be performed on Winx prior to being spelled. The veterinary examination, which included endoscopy, scans and radiographs revealed a small bone chip to the near fore fetlock.
• 11 April 2016 – Bone chip was removed from the near fore fetlock arthroscopically.
“Mr Waller advised Stewards that after returning to his Rosehill stables this preparation, Winx has been subject to routine veterinary care and was cleared by his stable veterinarian prior to barrier trialling at Randwick on 29 July 2016 and 9 August 2016. He indicated he has been pleased with her progress this preparation and in his opinion has displayed no adverse effects from the procedure.”
Winx collected her ninth win in succession with her Doncaster Mile victory and has had two Randwick barrier trials in preparation for her 2016 Spring Carnival campaign which will include her defence of the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Winx stunned the racing world when she made the rest of the country’s weight for age gallopers look second rate when she recorded a four and three quarter lengths win in the Weight For Age Championship of Australasia during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival with regular rider Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Waller said that he has been pleased with Winx’s two barrier trials over 850m even though the five year old mare was unextended to finished fourth in both outings.
“It was good to get her through the trial, we are gradually getting her fitness levels up, which is always difficult at this time of year,” Waller said after Winx’s trial at Randwick on August 9.
“Hughie just kept a good hold of her, she wasn’t out to break any records, he was happy and therefore I am happy.
“It has been a carefully-planned program getting her to this stage and fortunately everything has gone to plan, it is when you start missing trials and missing gallops that is when you start to come under pressure.
“She is exactly where she needs to be, to have the luxury of another 10 or so days before her first-up run that is a bonus too, it allows us to get a couple of hard gallops in to her if we need too, I don’t think we do, I think she is about where she needs to be.”
Winx is currently a short priced $2.70 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to defend her Cox Plate title with Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina the next best in the market order at $15.