The season’s best mare Winx is in “good shape” according to jockey Hugh Bowman as she heads towards the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2016 via Saturday’s $600,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
A superstar daughter of Street cry, the $3.78 million earning four-year-old extended her winning streak to six on the trot first-up at the track on February 13 with an impressive win as the deserving odds-on favourite in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
Bowman rode Winx for her maiden elite level win in last May’s Queensland Oaks, which she won by over three lengths, at Doomben and also partnered her for his victories in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in the spring.
The hoop continued his association in the Apollo Stakes and has since ridden her for a nice piece of work on Tuesday morning that proved she had come through her resuming win in fine order.
“It’s taken that edge off her – she’s much more relaxed than she was when I worked her in the week leading up to the Apollo,” Bowman told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“She’s ticking over nicely, and in good shape.”
Plans are to run Winx again this Saturday in Randwick’s 2016 Chipping Norton Stakes up over a mile, a distance she boasts two wins and a second from three previous runs over.
She also has a strong Randwick track record now of three wins and three seconds from seven starts she’ll be out to add to on Saturday shooting for her fourth Group 1 victory.
The Apollo Stakes has produced four of the past five Chipping Norton Stakes winners including Contributer (2015) who completed the double 12 months ago.
Unsurprisingly Winx is the current $1.55 favourite in pre-field Chipping Norton Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au to hand Waller his fifth win in the race in the past six years following his wins with Danleigh (2011), Shoot Out (2012-13) and Boban (2014).
The next best in early Chipping Norton Stakes betting are the Godolphin-raced Hartnell ($6) for last year’s winning trainer John O’Shea and Waller’s 2014 winner Boban ($9) who was last seen running two lengths away sixth to Suavito in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The major Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival assignment for Winx though is the lucrative $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) set to run on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ on April 9.
Waller has prepared two previous Queen Elizabeth Stakes winners taking out the race in 2011 with My Kingdom Of Fife and again in 2013 with Reliable Man (2013), the latter ridden by Bowman.
Early Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds this year have Winx as the $3 top fancy followed by Japanese Group 1 performer Isla Bonita ($7) and the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion ($9) who won the race last autumn defeating triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux by two and a half lengths.
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