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Turnbull Stakes Day 2017 has received a huge boost with news out this week from trainer Chris Waller that champion mare Winx could have a final run before the Ladbrokes Cox Plate in the Flemington Group 1 on October 7.
The Hall of Famer is on track to join Kingston Town (1980-83) as a three-time consecutive winner of Australia’s weight-for-age championship when the Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) runs at Moonee Valley on October 28.
A fortnight before Winx will have a final Cox Plate tune-up making her Flemington race debut in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) as confirmed by Waller in a story on Racing Victoria today.
“After giving careful consideration to her current racing campaign, it is likely her next run will be at Flemington on October 7 in the G1 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes,” Waller said.
“The sole reason for running here as the most likely option is simply based on the timing of the current program, which will provide her with three weeks between runs from the George Main to the Turnbull and another three weeks into the Cox Plate for her fifth run of the campaign.”
Last weekend the six-year-old scored her 20th straight victory with success in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick becoming the first consecutive winner of that Sydney feature since the aforementioned Kingston Town (1981-82).
Waller said that the now 13-time Group 1 winning Winx had pulled up trumps after the event and it was all systems go for her trip south.
“I am extremely pleased with the way Winx has pulled up following her win in the G1 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes on Saturday,” the master trainer said.
“I could not be happier with her recovery since the run and she continues to maintain her weight approximately 10kg heavier than what she was when winning the 2016 Cox Plate.
“All bodes well heading towards the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate.”
She will now look to extend the winning streak to 21 on the trot in the Turnbull Stakes, a race won last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival by Hartnell (2016).
Hartnell went on to place second to Winx in the Cox Plate quinella, which the mare won by a record eight lengths, before a Melbourne Cup third placing over the two miles on the first Tuesday of November.
Waller won the Turnbull Stakes two years ago with Preferment (2015), while the year before Lucia Valentina (2014) was the last George Main Stakes graduate (sixth) to back-up and win the Flemington feature.
Last season Winx went into the Cox Plate via a Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) success, while in 2015 she backed-up of a Randwick victory in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) before her first win in the Moonee Valley classic.
Waller said that should something change and a Turnbull Stakes run was taken off the cards, the other option was to keep Winx in Sydney a little longer for a run in the $500,000 Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) on The Everest Day the following weekend.
“If she was not to run in the Turnbull it would be my intentions to run in the Craven Plate on October 14 at Royal Randwick before heading to Melbourne in preparation for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate,” he confirmed.
Looking further ahead for 2018, Waller indicated that a Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign was on the cards before a likely overseas trip for the Royal Ascot Carnival in England mid-year.
Futures Cox Plate betting at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au have Winx as the $1.50 odds-on favourite.
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