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All Systems Go For Relaxed Winx

By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens

It’s all systems go for the world’s best horse as she chases three straight wins in the Group One $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The champion mare capped off a faultless four week preparation since her winning return in the Winx Stakes, stepping out on Thursday morning at Rosehill Gardens, cruising to the line in a piece of work over 1000m.

“She is in great order and has come on well since her last run,” said Hugh Bowman.

“I’m very comfortable with where she is at. A lot more comfortable leading into the second up run because we have seen her come to the races and perform at the level we know she can and stepping up to the 1600m on the weekend is a more suitable distance for her.”

That preparation included a gallop on Monday morning which Bowman described as the strongest gallop she has done this campaign.

“She worked with a partner and it’s the first time she worked in company this preparation. It was a very strong piece of work and she is certainly ready to go, we are just trying to keep her as relaxed as we can ahead of the big day,” said Bowman.

As far as tactics go, Bowman, as per usual when it comes to Winx, will simply ride what is in front of him but does take comfort knowing that stablemate Religify will roll along in front.

“I’ve ridden (Religify) quite a bit so I know him well and his style of racing is to go at a nice, even pace which suits him. That’ll ensure a pretty even gallop, it’s not going to be a muddling speed," he said.

“I’ve drawn barrier 3, so as always we’ll try to get her out of the barriers as smoothly as we can, from then on let her be comfortable wherever she is and start to work into it at the business end.”

Another stablemate set to clash with Winx, is her heir apparent for Waller, star mare Unforgotten. The four-year-old, who also galloped on Thurday morning, smoked her rivals in the Chelmsford Stakes last time out.

“She needs to run we just have to work out where she is heading,” said Waller, who is still mapping out her spring.

“Whether it’s here in Sydney for an Epsom or she heads to Melbourne for a Caulfield Cup. Weights in the Epsom (52.5kg) suggest she is a winning chance and what we did with Winx when she was a four-year-old was probably the most important part of her career.

“We protected her and she only had three runs in the spring, one of them being the Cox Plate, and it seemed to set a platform for her to come back a better horse.

“She can’t beat Winx unless she has an off day and she hasn’t done that for 26 starts but she is a very talented horse.”

Waller revealed the Caulfield Cup is back on Unforgotten’s radar after realising the ATC Oaks winner is a lot higher in the order of entry than he first thought.

“I was a little confused when they put the weights out for the Caulfield Cup, it looked as though she was 60th in line to get a start but we have since learnt she is 10th so that has changed my thinking just in the last 24 hours. That’s the beauty of the spring, there are so many options with these great horses,” said Waller.

Waller echoed Bowman’s sentiments when it comes to Winx’s state of mind, before offering an insight into the challenge of preparing her with a month between runs.

“She certainly hasn’t gone backwards and what more can I say, she is pleasing us at home in her general self and that’s so important,” he said.

“It’s pretty straightforward but it’s four weeks to worry about things. What you are going to do with her, what you need to do and when you need to do it. You do need to keep them up to their work because they can easily train off.”

Check the fields, replays and form for Royal Randwick on Saturday.

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