The major Brisbane race at Eagle Farm Racecourse...
Chris Waller and mighty mare Winx are prepping for their first appearance of the New Year on Tuesday week – a jumpout ahead of next month’s $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
No less than a month ago the future remained unclear for Winx, with many signs pointing towards retirement. Waller himself remained cautious about a final preparation, but after the seven-year old showed encouraging signs in the stable, the champion trainer had no other choice but to eye off one last Autumn campaign.
“Amazingly, she is showing the same keenness and enthusiasm for her work as always” Waller told the AAP.
“It is quite unbelievable. Any signs of her ageing aren’t there. Any signs of her slowing down aren’t there.
“She is as good as we can have her.”
Despite her record breaking Cox Plate win three months ago, long-time jockey Hugh Bowman isn’t getting ahead of himself. In Waller’s weekly newsletter earlier this month, the winning hoop claims he plans to take it one day at a time.
“I just go through the process with her, I don’t look forward or think forward I just turn up and do the work and go home,’’ Bowman said.
“I’m not thinking beyond the trial and after that I won’t think beyond the next trial.’’
While much of Winx’s success has come in Victoria, a retirement in Sydney following the Autumn Carnival was always the desired path for the stable.
Before then, the Queen of the Turf will likely take her usual Group 1 path of the Chipping Norton (1600m) and George Ryder (1500m) in March, followed by the $4 mil Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in April.
“I’m looking for her to get the credit for being around for so long,” Waller said.
“We have made those decisions to pull up when we could have gone another run, or not to take her overseas, doing certain things that would have made it hard.
“But I think Winx will be remembered not only for being a great horse but for being a great horse for a long time and that is what singles her out.”
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