By Greg Prichard
Chris Waller described the next two months as the most important of his training career as he aims to get superstar Winx through to the end with her record winning streak intact and the horse remaining healthy.
Waller spoke to Racing NSW about the final challenge after the seven-year-old breezed down the Rosehill Gardens straight in a Thursday morning workout before beginning her farewell preparation in the WFA Apollo Stakes over 1400m at Randwick on Saturday.
“Yeah, 100 per cent it’s the most important (time of his career),” Waller said.
“It was the same last preparation going into the spring. I thought exactly the same as I did now, because I didn’t know if she would be back here. But she is back and it’s her last campaign, so there’s a new challenge.
“Back then it was all about getting to a fourth Cox Plate and, once we were there, winning it. That was achieved and there was an initial sense of relief and then we had to brace ourselves and say, ‘OK, can we get up and do this again?’
“But not for our own sake – for the horse’s sake. We had to decide if we would be doing the right thing by the horse in coming back. That’s something that weighed on all of us for a month following the Cox Plate until we made a decision.
“We based it on the fact that, yes, we do believe the horse is 100 per cent and she’s capable of pushing on a little bit further. We knew how important a decision it was to get right and the responsibilities that come with it.”
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) February 13, 2019
Winx, sitting on 29 wins in a row, is scheduled to have four runs spread over eight weeks and as she gets close to post-time Waller said she couldn’t have had a better preparation.
“What I’ve been thinking in the last 48 hours is that Winx will win on Saturday providing she’s the same horse she was last prep,” he said. “There’s nothing to suggest that she’s not.”
Waller said he and his team couldn’t have put any more pressure on themselves to get it right with the mare.
“We’ve already loaded ourselves up with 100 per cent pressure, we can’t put any more on,” he said.
“But the process is made simple, as it has been all the way through, by having a good team behind us and preparing her right.
“Looking out for obvious issues of body language, unsoundness or lack of performance and we’re just not seeing any of it.
“Once you set a platform they’ll just consistently improve off that platform with each run they have, just like a footy team.
“First-up run they’ll be a bit rusty, second-up game they’re better and so on. So I’ve got no doubt about her second, third and fourth-up runs - I just want to make sure we get Saturday in place right.
“I’m very happy with how she’s going heading into the race. This morning was very sedate in terms of what we do with the horse, but that’s simply because the work’s done, she’s ready to go.”