Jockey Hugh Bowman admits there is a level of anxiety around riding the Queen of the Australian Turf Winx who he is aboard on Saturday as the mare chases win number 17 on the trot in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2017.
Bowman has ridden Chris Waller’s champion mare in 16 of her 26 career starts to date and admits he is getting more comfortable with the level of pressure put on him to ride her to victory over and over again.
This Saturday the duo combine again as Winx chases her 17th win on the trot and her 12th Group 1 success in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
“There’s a certain anxiousness about the event that’s coming up,” Bowman told Racing Victoria.
“The closer I get to the action – this Saturday I’ve got eight rides and five of which before she races – so I’ve got plenty to think about outside Winx.
“But certainly as we get closer to the race that certain anxiousness about how it will play out becomes more prevalent but when I get on the horse in the enclosure and obviously the crowd is buzzing too and anxious to see what is going to happen.
“But when I go out onto the track and canter off to the gates, all those emotions disappear. I mean that – they all go to the side. It’s just me and Winx.
“Having been thorough the process a few time before now, I’m certainly getting more comfortable with it all.
“It gets easier as the preparation gets on because the fitter she gets, the stronger she becomes and the more agile she feels.”
The Winx winning streak began back in May of 2015 when Larry Cassidy rode the then three-year-old to victory the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m).
The first of her elite level wins followed, Bowman in the saddle for the three and a half length romp home in the Queensland Oaks (2200m).
The only other run since Bowman hasn’t been aboard the superstar was her Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) win in September of 2015 when James McDonald was in the saddle.
Since then Winx has gone on to post a further 10 more Group 1 victories including back-to-back Cox Plate wins in Melbourne.
She comes off a seven length romp home on a bottomless Rosehill track in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and is in “good shape” ahead of her final autumn run on The Championships Day 2 according to Bowman.
“She’s really good and really strong and we’re in good shape for Saturday,” he said.
To look at Winx there is little giving away what makes her the world’s best racehorse, but Bowman said her ace balance had plenty to do with the ease of her wins.
“Her centre of gravity doesn’t change at all when she moves,” he said.
“She’s deceivingly long when you sit on her. There’s a good bit of muscle there but she’s quite agile as well. She’s a very well-balanced horse.”
So, does Winx know how good she is? Bowman says yes.
“She knows that she’s the queen and she walks with a certain air of confidence about her,” he added.
The bookies won’t be caught out with Winx and have her at a very short $1.09 in the latest Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
To back Queen Winx to win on the weekend at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.