Champion mare Winx is ready to return to the racetrack after her Autumn Carnival preparation was stepped up another gear today with a pleasing fifth in a 1000m Rosehill barrier trial.
Winx was having her second trail in the build up to her return and wasn’t fully extended by Hugh Bowman to finish fifth behind Team Snowden’s speedster Redzel after travelling in fourth position throughout the trial.
Trainer Chris Waller had originally scheduled Winx’s return for the Autumn in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 17 but now it looks like it could be changed, depending on the outcome of Bowman’s appeal today against a careless riding suspension.
After initially accepting the careless riding suspensions, Bowman decided to appeal the severity of a his suspension from the Warwick Farm meeting on January 26 and a second outing he received from the Karaka Million Race Day meeting at Ellerslie in New Zealand the next day.
Waller said after the trial that he would wait until after Bowman’s appeal before confirming where Winx would step out for the first time for her Autumn Carnival campaign.
“After the appeal we will have a better indication of what’s happening,’’ Waller said.
“We are still two weeks away from her planned first-up run, being the Apollo, but if we need to make changes we will do that when we are required to do so.
“We won’t miss races if it will affect the end result which are the bigger targets ahead.
“Does she need to race in the Apollo? Are there bigger targets? She doesn’t have to race every week, we’ve seen before she races well fresh and you can space her races.
“When you have a horse like Winx we can take into consideration do we need to risk other jockeys riding.’’
“There’s lots of options. We don’t want to make things too difficult.’’
Waller even hasn’t ruled out going to Melbourne to run first up in the Group 1 $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 24 or even wait for the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 3.
“Going to Melbourne for the Futurity (on February 24) is a possibility, it’s unlikely but a possibility. We could go first-up in the Chipping Norton, of course the Apollo with a different rider if required,” Waller said.
If Bowman was to lose his appeal and Waller decided to go ahead with a start in the Apollo Stakes, connections would have to find a stand in jockey for Winx for the first time since James McDonald rode to her victory in the 2015 Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.
“To break the partnership up would be a little different and hard to quantify how it would affect her. Who knows, she might go faster,” Waller said.
Winx was spelled after her history making win in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate which was her twenty-second consecutive win and took her overall record to twenty-six wins from thirty-two starts and lifted her prizemoney earnings to $15,627,925.
Rosehill Barrier Trial Results Heat 1 (1000m)
|1||9||REDZEL||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||–|
|2||1||ALIZEE||James Cummings||Glyn Schofield||3L|
|3||2||CLASSIC UNIFORM||Gary Moore||Tim Clark||3.7L|
|4||3||DEPLOY||Gerald Ryan||Tye Angland||3.8L|
|5||10||WINX||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||4L|
|6||7||HEAVENS ABOVE||Tim Martin||Adam Hyeronimus||6.2L|
|7||8||INFERENCE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Brenton Avdulla||6.7L|
|8||5||ENGLISH||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||8.1L|
|9||4||EGG TART||Chris Waller||Chad Lever||10.1L|
|10||6||FOXPLAY||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||10.7L|