Winx primed for start of final campaign

Winx primed for start of final campaign

Trainer Chris Waller has enough proof to be confident what Winx does in the last part of her races is superior to any other horse.

He puts his trust in her jockey Hugh Bowman to navigate the first part of her races safely.

The champion has been known to cause a few heart flutters by missing the start or seemingly getting in bad positions but as time goes on, Bowman is unflappable.

The now seven-year-old Winx heads to Saturday’s Group Two Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick unbeaten since April 2015 and expected to notch her 30th consecutive win.

“I’m always mindful of her behaviour in the barriers,” Bowman said.

“As I’ve always said, she can be a little fractious. But she has matured with age and she hasn’t had any issues with them for a couple of preparations now.

“But it’s always something I’m very careful of and very mindful of. It’s just as a case of keeping her nice and relaxed.”

Relaxed she has been for the past few weeks as she heads into what will be her final campaign with the Apollo the first of four planned starts culminating in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April.

“The beauty of Winx is she’s arguably the fastest horse in Australia over the last 600 metres of a race,” Waller said.

“That’s why she gets herself out of trouble more often than not, and that’s why she’s so dominant.

“So regardless of pace, where she is, we know that last 600 is sizzling.

“We’ve seen her break 32 seconds on a couple of occasions.”

Winx cantered around Rosehill on Thursday morning before posing for pictures, something she does with as much ease as she finishes her races.

Bowman admits 1400 metres is the distance that gives him the most concerns with the mare.

“The 1400 I think is her most vulnerable distance,” Bowman said.

“It’s the only distance that she feels at some point in the race ‘oh is she at her top already’. That’s a small feeling I get.”

She will have seven rivals in the Apollo, including five familiar faces from within her own stable.

The Pat Webster-trained Happy Clapper is the second highest-rated Australian horse on the world rankings headed by Winx and English horse Cracksman while the other non-Waller trained Apollo runner is Aloisia from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable.

Credit: AAP