By Ray Hickson
CHRIS Waller sets the bar high for his horses, performance wise, and perhaps that's why he has worked his way to the top of Sydney racing.
Not even Winx escapes criticism. Because she's Winx he's even harder on her and how he described her Warwick Stakes win is an insight into that.
''It was great for everyone to see her do what she did but that wasn't a pass mark,'' Waller said.
That came from asking Waller if now that the champ has the first-up run out of the way if he's free to enjoy watching her in action.
Since that ''lucky return'' (his words), Waller and the team have been hard at work ensuring there's no repeat of her barrier mishap as Winx shoots for 19 straight in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
It's been documented that Winx will wear ear muffs during the race for the first time, not just in the parade.
''It just helps block out the background noise,'' Waller said.
''She'll still hear Hugh Bowman say 'it's time to go'.''
Winx will be joined in the Chelmsford by ''a number'' of stablemates including the likes of Sarrasin, Tom Melbourne, Who Shot Thebarman and Antonio Giuseppe.
Sydney will see Winx at least three more times prior to her historic Cox Plate attempt - the Chelmsford and George Main (September 16) are locked in.
Waller said he doesn't want to run her five times before her main goal so will likely miss the Hill Stakes (September 30), give Winx a barrier trial and an exhibition gallop, then run in the Craven Plate (2000m) on Everest day.
Still on Waller, and Foxplay will be nominated for Saturday's Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m) though she may be reserved for the Group 2 Theo Marks (1300m) a week later.
As brilliant as Foxplay was in running Winx to her shortest margin in two years it came at a cost and she took the run a lot harder than her famous stablemate.
''She had a hard run, normally I would gallop her on Saturday but we decided to hold her back until Tuesday,'' Waller said.
''She left a considerable amount of feed. It shows how tough a run Foxplay had to try and beat (Winx).''
Alward assumed favouritism for next month's Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) with his great escape at Rosehill on Saturday.
At $6 he's short enough at this point, considering Waller's suggestion he will be a better horse next preparation, but his effort was better than the margin suggests and he smashed the class record.
Waller will send Sayed to Friday's Wyong Gold Cup and should be bounce back to his best form following a shock defeat at Randwick nine days ago he may well assume the top spot.
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott will send their Everest runner English to Thursday's Randwick barrier trials to complete her preparation for a first-up run in The Shorts on September 16.
And Bott said he hasn't given up on Group 1 winning mare Global Glamour securing a slot in the $10m feature.
Global Glamour is still ''a few weeks'' off trialling and will likely resume in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) two weeks prior to The Everest.
Still on The Everst, James Harron of course has a slot in the race and the chances of Pariah taking that slot increased with his stunning San Domenico win.
''I'm letting it unfold and we'll get through the Golden Rose first,'' he said.
Horses to follow
Jorda (Rosehill): considering she hadn't raced since October 1 the filly really matched it with a couple of far more experienced and strong colts. She wasn't able to get any momentum in the straight and she'll be a lot better next time.
Star Of The Seas (Newcastle): Speith's three-quarter brother made a very promising debut. He didn't settle early in a slowly run race but you had to like the way he finished off and he shouldn't be a maiden too long.