Three-year-old gelding Military Zone capped off...
Champion mare Winx kicked off her defence of her Cox Plate title with a low intense barrier trial at Rosehill today.
Regualr rider Hugh Bowman settled Winx near the tail of the field in the 900m trial and kept her well out of harm’s way when he let the super star mare extend over the final stages to finish in seventh spot behind Gary Portelli trained She Will Reign.
Trainer Chris Waller said that it was a nice way for Winx to begin her 2018 Spring Carnival campaign with her main target being a fourth win in the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 27.
Winx is the winner of her last twenty-five starts which includes eighteen at Group 1 level and the extraordinary mare created history when she equalled the legendary Kingston Town’s record of three consecutive Cox Plate victories when she beat the Darren Weir trained Humidor in the 2017 weight for age championship during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“We would like to get through to certain targets in the Spring, The Cox Plate and other races prior to that. It will just be one run at a time and we will look after Winx,” Waller told Racing NSW News Desk.
“It’ll (barrier trial) help me settle down. We’re still 30 days out from her first-up run.”
“There’s still fine tuning to do but I was really happy with what I saw this morning.”
“It was great to just see her stretching out nicely for the last 100m. She will take a lot of fitness benefits from this working workout.”
“Condition wise she is fantastic, hasn’t got out of shape. Her track work is fantastic, Hughie gave her the thumbs up, said she feels great.”
“She will trial again and get a little bit closer and when the pressure is on in the race she will be there fit and ready to go.”
“That’s when we need her to perform. Winning trials makes everybody feel happy but you have to respect their fitness levels are still coming up.”
Bowman was also excited that Winx was back in the public eye and said that she felt great at her first serious hit out since winning the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 14, day two of The Championships.
“She felt good – felt really good,” Bowman racing.com.
“It’s the start of a new prep its exciting for us all and I couldn’t have been happier with her this morning.
“She had a good blow this morning after the trial which was good to see.
“I’ve done three pieces of work on her at home and she blew more this morning than in any of those pieces of work at home.
“It’s good to have her back and well. There was a fair bit of nervous energy running through her veins when she got to the enclosure and I got on her, which was good to see.
“She was a little bit anxious in the barriers which was not unusual although I don’t want her to be too fractious on race day.
“It was good to see those competitive juices flowing through her so she’s excited to be back and so are we.”
35 starts, 29 wins, 3 seconds, 0 thirds.
18 Group 1 wins.
Total prizemoney earnings: $18,998,424
Early betting for the 2018 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.55 Winx, $15 Humidor, $26 Accidental Agent, Benbatl, D’Agento, Gailo Chop, Happy Clapper, Roaring Lion, Unforgotten, $31 Grunt, Kementari, Youngstar, $41 Johannes Vermeer, Levendi, Rekindling, $51 or better the rest.
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