Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
Each start builds growing pressure on Chris Waller’s superstar mare Winx to salute for the punters and her regular rider Hugh Bowman said it was up to him to remain relaxed aboard her in Saturday’s Chelmsford Stakes 2017.
The six-year-old daughter of Street Cry comes into the Group 2 $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on the back of 18 straight wins and is the understandable odds-on favourite again in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Things nearly came undone for the dual Cox Plate champion first-up however when Winx missed the kick in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
What followed was an outstanding display of her class and ability as she made up the five lengths, winding up her rivals and surpassing stablemate Foxplay to keep the fairy tale going.
Winx is heading towards a third shot at the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) in Melbourne this October, but the Chelmsford Stakes and George Main Stakes still to tackle at home in front of the Sydney race fans.
No doubt the $13 million earner knows she’s the best on the turf going around right now, but that’s not to say Winx doesn’t get a little worked up pre-race.
She is known to get anxious in the gates, as shown last time out, and Waller has the ear muffs going on this weekend to help counter that.
Bowman said it was also important for him to remain calm in the saddle as they wait for the light to go on and the barriers to open, which was exactly what he planned to do in the Chelmsford Stakes.
“It’s the only time I am nervous when I am on her back is in the barriers because she does have a tendency to become a little anxious,” Bowman told the press on Thursday morning during a media call at Rosehill.
“The timing was most inappropriate last start but we’re hoping that won’t happen again.
“It’s just a case of Winx being Winx. We are obviously aware of it.
“We tested a barrier blanket on her thinking that might help her anxiousness. She couldn’t feel the sides of the barriers but the reality was it made little or no difference.
“The best thing I can do is stay relaxed myself and not get too carried away with what we saw last start.
“The reality is, the likelihood is she is going to be a little anxious in the barriers as she always is.
“It’s just a case of me staying as relaxed as I can to help her to stay as relaxed as she can and it’ll all work out, I hope.”
The bookies are banking on Bowman being correct and currently the latest Chelmsford Stakes odds on Winx sit at $1.10.
Waller is also supremely confident that the mare won’t let him down as Winx looks to add to her outstanding record at Randwick (15-11-3-0) and over the mile (7-6-1-0) second-up on Saturday.
“I don’t think there is too much worry about,” the master Sydney horseman said.
“In her career, in terms of races and trials, she’s been to the barriers 40 times. She does get playful in the gates but she’s only ever missed the start once to that degree.
“So one in 40, I think we’ll put that out of the way. I do think it’s a one-off.”
To back Winx to win the Chelmsford Stakes 2017 at the best Sydney racing odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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