Sydney’s premiership winning trainer Chris Waller has confirmed that champion mare Winx will resume for the 2018 Autumn Carnival in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 3.
Waller had originally scheduled Winx to kick off the Autumn in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 17 but when regular rider Hugh Bowman became unavailable because of dual careless riding suspensions, connections were reluctant to split up their winning combination and have put back her comeback by two weeks.
Bowman has been aboard Winx for twenty-one of her twenty-six wins, including twenty of her twenty-two race winning streak that concluded with her record equalling third successive victory in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Bowman lost an appeal yesterday with the Racing NSW Appeal Panel against the severity of the suspension he received at Warwick Farm on January 26 and also received a second suspension the next day at the Karaka Million Race Day meeting at Ellerslie in New Zealand which is scheduled to keep him on the sidelines until February 22.
Waller released a statement this morning confirming that the weight for age Chipping Norton Stakes would be Winx’s first up run for the Autumn Carnival.
“Following consultation between the owners of Winx and I, the decision has been made for Winx to resume her racing preparation on the 3rd of March in the Group 1 Chipping Norton over 1600m,” Waller said in a statement on twitter.
“Hugh Bowman is a very important part of Winx and we feel that we can go straight into the Chipping Norton first-up without the need to resume in the Apollo Stakes as we had originally planned.
“She races well fresh and we are well ahead of schedule with her, so I will simply give her a third trial to ensure her fitness levels are high enough to compete at her best in this race.
“Should Hugh have been suspended in middle or late in the preparation closer to her significant targets we would have opted to use a suitable replacement rider for Winx, however, we are in the fortunate position that we can alter her starting point without affecting her main targets this preparation.”
Bowman rode Winx in her second barrier trial this preparation when a pleasing fifth to Redzel over 1000m at Rosehill on February 5.
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.