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The 'Amazing Ride' Continues With Winx

By Ray Hickson

Chris Waller admitted to being a little excited, Hugh Bowman couldn't fault the champ so it was left to part-owner Debbie Kepitis to sum up Winx's first public appearance ahead her Spring campaign.

And with her first barrier trial down it's full steam ahead less than a month out from her highly anticipated return to racing at Royal Randwick on August 18.

"It's just an amazing ride,'' Kepitis said.

"Trial mornings are easier than any other time. It's nice to see her have a blow, that means she's building her fitness up and getting a few nerves out.''

While all eyes were on the start of the 900m trial as the racing world held its breath hoping Chautauqua would jump cleanly - he didn't, he stayed in the stalls - at the end of the gallop it was all smiles from Team Winx.

And nobody cared at all that she was beaten about 3.6 lengths running seventh in the star studded trial, at Rosehill Gardens, won by 2017 Golden Slipper champ She Will Reign.

Waller used a line he's wheeled out before to describe the gallop as like ''a pre-season game'' shortly after saying he was a little bit excited to have her back in action.

"It'll help me settle down. We're still 30 days out from her first-up run,'' he said.

"There's still fine tuning to do but I was really happy with what I saw this morning.''

Bowman knew as soon as he was legged aboard Winx that the rising seven-year-old was feeling well.

Understandably, under the saddle there's still some winter coat but the trial had nothing to do with looks or performance.

"When I got on she pricked her ears and she's happy to be back,'' Bowman said.

"She was a little edgy in the gates, which is not unusual, but she jumped very well and felt superb in the trial.

"We've never seen her perform at her best in trials, this morning was about going through the motions and releasing that nervous energy.''

Where to now for the world's best racehorse?

She'll have a second trial early in August and possibly an exhibition gallop before she returns in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 18.

Kepitis said it's a huge honour that the race, formerly the Warwick Stakes, has been renamed after Winx and with that comes with a weight of expectation that she'll extend her winning run to 26.


Re-live the star filled trial, featuring Winx, from Rosehill on Monday

"It's been done before but to race in a race named after her and hopefully to win it that adds a lot more pressure,'' she said.

"But what an honour to have a race, the Warwick Stakes, lifted to Group 1 status and that's an achievement she has aided in, and then to have the naming right to that race is very special.

"Things are very different this year. She's achieved legend status by winning a third Cox Plate. We're going along for the ride and see what she does.

"You've got to be realistic, it will end. We'll still be able to have babies with her and enjoy that. It's a great ride and it's going to go on for a long time because she's a magic horse.''

Waller said following the Winx Stakes, the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) is also on the agenda before a decision is made whether she has a third Sydney start or heads to Melbourne chasing an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate.

It's expected if she does remain in Sydney, the Group 3 $500,000 Craven Plate (2000m) is the logical race and it would add her star power to Everest Day on October 13.

Check out all the results and replays from the Rosehill Gardens trials on Monday.

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