A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Trainer Chris Waller has been thrilled with the benefit taken by stable star Winx in her time away from racing and is confident the multiple Group 1 winner will be very hard to beat first-up in Saturday’s 2016 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick.
Posting an impressive nine wins and three minors through only fifteen career starts so far, Winx returning in spring for an impressive win in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) on September 12th; progressing to a comfortable win in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) before delivering a particularly talented field of runners a five length defeat in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Pleased with the performances mustered by the four-year-old through a handful of barrier trials; who is known for keeping her best for race day, Waller told AAP he is confident the mare will return in even better condition this time.
“With a horse like Winx you are always trying just that extra bit harder,” Waller said.
“She will be an important part of the carnival.
“People want to see her and want to see her win.
“It’s a different situation but I’m getting an idea of what Peter Moody went through with Black Caviar.
“She is not a sensational trialler and she has been having a blow after her gallops which is why I wanted her to have a good hit-out at Randwick.
“She is an extreme athlete and unlike some other horses she can race 95 per cent fit and still win.”
Waller has underlined the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships as the major target for the Street Cry mare this time and revealed the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in a fortnight will be her likely second point of call.
“Racing her in the Apollo opens up the option of getting her to the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes two weeks later,” Waller said.
“I want to get the first race right.
“It’s a long carnival and she is a valuable horse.”
Unlucky not to break through for a maiden win at the highest level through the 2014 Spring Carnival, Winx returned to racing last year for seventh in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) but responded well when returning to winning form in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m), placing fifth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and second in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
Travelling to Queensland for success in the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m), Winx justified Waller’s decision to continue racing when comfortably taking out the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) on May 30th.
2016 Apollo Stakes nominations are due to be completed and released by midday today (Monday, 8 February 2016).
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