It was nothing more than a stroll in the park but trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman were more than pleased with Winx’s performance in a 900m barrier trial at Rosehill this morning.
Winx is preparing for her final racing campaign and will be chasing her thirtieth win in succession when she kicks off her 2019 Sydney Autumn Carnival program in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 14.
Winx has won the Apollo Stakes on two previous occasions in 2016 and 2017 and Waller will be sticking closely to a proven formula to keep the champion mares winning sequence intact.
The Sydney Autumn Carnival has been earmarked to be Winx’s last campaign and if the mighty mare continues on her winning way, a third win in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 13 could be her swansong appearance.
“Like last preparation it’s one race at a time, we won’t say when the end is, but the Apollo Stakes first-up at Randwick in the middle of February then take one race from there,’’ Waller said.
“We’ll try and let everybody know where we are heading but stress it’s one race at a time.’’
Winx’s wasn’t out to have a hard hit out in the trial today and after dawdling out of the barriers two lengths behind the rest of the field, Bowman let the mare relax and after tagging on to the back markers approaching the home turn, the four times Cox Plate winner was allowed some extra rein and she cruised past a couple of rivals in the run to the line to be placed in seventh position, fibe and three quarter lengths behind her stablemate Endless Drama.
“The way she is so relaxed now, she really does save it all for game day,” Bowman said.
“That was evident at the 200m where she wasn’t going to tack on unless I made her finish the trial off.
“If that was a race I’d have been holding on to her as I was going past the winning bunch.’’
Waller was also happy with the trial and said that Winx is well ahead of where he needs her to be fitness wise and will have a second barrier at Rosehill on January 29.
“I don’t think there’s too much change and if anything that’s a positive that she’s enjoying herself and not showing any signs of stress,’’ Waller said.
“If anything she looks better than we’ve had her at the same stage.
“We’ve allowed an extra week to get her a little fitter but apart from that it’s business as usual.’’
Early betting for the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Winx as the $1.20 favourite to claim the winning trophy for the third consecutive year.
Winx’s race record: 39 starts: 33 wins (including 22 Group 1 wins), 3 seconds, 0 thirds with prizemoney earnings of $22,934,924.