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VIDEO: Watch Winx win the 2018 Turnbull Stakes

Source: Racing.com


Winx motors late to land Turnbull

By Andrew Eddy

Such is Chris Waller's faith in Winx, he may have been the only person on Saturday at Flemington - or watching on from elsewhere - not to endure that sinking feeling as the field turned for home in the Turnbull Stakes.

For the large crowd on hand and for the millions watching throughout the world, Winx was in trouble with 500 metres to run. She had a wall of horses in front of her and more to her outside and inside. Temporarily, it seemed she had nowhere to go.

Momentarily it seemed her winning run would stop at No. 27.

But as we've been accustomed to for much of the past three years, Winx can change the complexion of a race in a few strides. The gap did come and Winx went through to record one of the narrowest wins of her extraordinary streak.

On the line, the $1.10 favourite had a length margin over stablemate Youngstar ($41), with three-quarters of a length to Caulfield Cup favourite Kings Will Dream ($14) in third place.

A buzz went through the crowd for the entire Flemington straight but seemingly Waller was never worried.

"The way Hughie rode her was perfect," the trainer said. "That's how you ride a racehorse.

"Go to the apprentice school on Monday and show them that and every apprentice will turn out to be a genius if they ride like that.

"Obviously when you are riding Winx, you do need to try not to get held up. But it's Flemington and he got out with 400 metres to run.

"At Moonee Valley you are still looking for runs at that stage and at Caulfield you are still looking for runs at that stage but we are at Flemington.

"In reality, she only made up five lengths in 400 metres."

Such was the ease with which he took the running of the Turnbull, Waller was happy to look three weeks ahead to what Winx would face at The Valley when racing for a fourth Cox Plate.

"It's now about maintenance," he said. "As much as training Winx to hold her form, it's just as much about training her to stay safe.
"We're in safe mode now and it's a good place to be."

Youngstar finished on strongly for second, with her rider Kerrin McEvoy thinking he was about to win the race before Winx rushed on by.

Waller was taken with the performance from a Caulfield Cup point of view.

"Unbelivable really," he said. "Running in this grade for the first time really. She had been pretty sheltered in her three-year-old year."

Trainer Darren Weir gave Kings Will Dream a pass-mark for his third placing after he railed up in the home straight for third place.

"I thought he ran really well," Weir said. "He had a nice run throughout.

"I'm not so sure he was happy in there (on the rails) but going forward, it was a really good run.

"I'm happy enough with the way everything is. He was solid to the line without being great but a drop back in weight will suit a bit as will the distance rise."

While there was delight once again in the Winx camp, the Mick Price stable was left licking its wounds after a horror finish to the race.

Price reported that dual Group 1 winner Grunt will be scanned to check for any injuries after finishing three lengths behind the field in last position. The horse that finished ahead of him was stablemate Mighty Boss.

"He changed strides a few times in the run and just didn't feel comfortable," Price reported.

He said Grunt would be fully scanned to see if there is a physical issue with results likely on Monday. Price said he felt Mighty Boss had been 'colty' before the race and performed so.

Punters reacted immediately to the performance of Grunt, easing him out from the second line of betting for the Cox Plate to $51 while Winx firmed into $1.20.

This article first appeared on Racing.com and is reprinted here with their kind permission. To find out more about Racing Victoria's Off the Track program, visit rv.racing.com/the-horse/off-the-track.





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