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Winx on track for autumn return

Winx winning the 2018 Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Image: ATC

Winx winning the 2018 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Image: ATC


By Andrew Eddy

Chris Waller has declared Winx has thrived in her first few weeks back in the stables after a summer break and is on track to chase win number 30 in a row in less than six weeks.

The world’s best race mare is not yet at the most testing stage of her preparation, but Waller told Fairfax Media that all the signs are positive that Winx is defying her age as a rising eight-year-old in 2019.

"She’s really well," Waller said.

"She has had three gallops. Amazingly, she is showing the same keenness and enthusiasm for her work.

"It’s quite unbelievable and there is no hesitation (from me) at the start of the prep.

"Any signs of her ageing aren’t there. Any signs of her slowing aren’t there."

Winx is due to return to racing for her 40th race start in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 16, which ends her extraordinary Group 1-winning streak of 10 races in a row, culminating last spring in her fourth Cox Plate victory.

Winx, who has won 33 races and almost $23 million in stakes, hits the headlines early in 2019 when she is recognised on Saturday night with the Vox Populi Award, which is a US accolade given to the racehorse that receives the most votes in an online poll.

But Waller said it is Winx’s remarkable longevity that will underline her achievements.

"To get a popularity award from American is amazing," he said. "But I’m looking for her to get is the credit for being around so long.

"We have made decisions to pull up when we could have gone another run. Not to take her overseas and doing certain things that would not make it harder for her.

"I think Winx will be remembered not only for being a great horse but for being a great horse for a long time and that is what singles her out."

Winx fans across the world might not have to wait long to see the champion stretch out as Waller said her first barrier trial for the preparation could be as early as January 15 at Rosehill.

"She is as good as we can have her. She keeps herself in check. She’s an amazing athlete."

"You hear of horses going out for a spell and getting heavy, putting on condition. But she seems to look after herself.

"She is probably four days ahead of schedule this year and we could sneak an exhibition gallop in with her."

Winx is likely to stick with the familiar in her farewell campaign with her Apollo run to be followed by further attempts on the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and her potential finale in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 13.

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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