A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
A cruisy track gallop on Thursday morning by the world’s best racehorse Winx has her master trainer Chris Waller more confident than ever that she can continue the winning streak and salute in Saturday’s 2017 George Main Stakes.
The mare’s regular rider and No. 1 fan Hugh Bowman put the six-year-old through her paces in a solo Rosehill gallop this morning, Winx doing everything right ahead of her shot at a 20th consecutive turf triumph in the Group 1 $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
“She is very strong, very healthy and very well,” Bowman told The Daily Telegraph.
Bowman has partnered the 12-time Group 1 champion for 18 of her 19 latest victories, only missing her 2015 Theo Marks Stakes success when James McDonald got a taste of what it was like aboard the superstar.
Hall of Famer Winx has given the punters two last-gasp victories first and second-up this time in, the latest seeing her run down Red Excitement for a one length victory in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
Returning to the Randwick mile on the weekend, the superlative galloper is $1.09 in the latest George Main Stakes odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au and Waller said that after watching her work he was confident she had taken no ill-effects from her latest race.
“Hugh got it right again – that was perfect work,” he said.
“I’m more confident with Winx going third-up into the George Main over the Randwick mile than I was second-up into the Chelmsford Stakes.”
Winx is out to join Kingston Town (1981-82) in winning back-to-back George Main Stakes, before attempting to replicate his three straight Cox Plate victories when she lines-up in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship on October 28 as the dual defending champ.
The two horses rated to finish in the money behind Winx in the George Main Stakes trifecta this spring by the bookies are market mover Happy Clapper ($15 into $12) and her stablemate Foxplay ($15).
Bowman knows that every horse is beatable, but said with each run the mare displayed her talent and versatility giving him every faith she will get the job done third-up on Saturday.
“I wouldn’t say she is unbeatable and I’ve never really thought that,” Bowman said.
“But I feel she is always at her most vulnerable early in the prep and as her preparation gets deeper my confidence certainly grows with her.
“She gets fit with her racing and [Waller] doesn’t push her to have her prepared early on and he relies on her natural ability to do that and her natural athleticism.
“As we get deeper into the prep, I can’t speak for Chris but my confidence certainly grows.
“That anticipation that is around with her first-up tends to diminish somewhat for me as we get into the prep and she relaxes a bit.”
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