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Winx Happier In Her Own Skin

By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens

Hugh Bowman believes Winx is “happier in her skin” this preparation ahead of the champion mare’s return in the $600,000 G1 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The six-year-old rounded off her ‘pre-season’ with a piece of work on Thursday morning, dashing home her last 400m in 22 seconds. Bowman was glowing in his appraisal of the gallop and Winx’s state of mind.

“She is more settled. That suggests to me she is a happier in her own skin. Trying to determine if she better or worse, until we get to the races and see her perform, it’s a question we can’t answer but mentally and physically she couldn’t be in a better position,” said Bowman.

“I think she is more excited about race day than we are. She has been going really nicely all preparation and this morning suggested she is ready to go to the races.

“She settled down after her work really nicely whereas this time last prep it took her quite a while to relax. To me that’s a really good sign.”

Winx will surpass Black Caviar’s tally of 15 Group Ones if she wins as expected on Saturday, and extend her winning streak to 23, but it’s water off a ducks back for the unhurried hoop.

“The numbers have been stacking up for a while and the way I cope with that is that I have a job to do and a put Winx into a position where she can do her job. I try to keep it as simple as I can and that won’t change this weekend,” offered Bowman.

“I don’t talk much to her, I find the less said the better. I give her a pet but she doesn’t appreciate affection. She is there to work and she wants to work and I’d prefer not to interrupt her. She just needs someone to steer her and that’s what I do - jump on, point her in the right direction and she does the rest.”

Winx will be regarded as one of the best horses to have ever hit a track and Waller reiterated that Bowman is a huge part in the mare’s story.

“It’s not just about (Bowman) riding her because he’s the only jockey she runs for, that’s far from the truth,” said Waller.

“The fact is, she didn’t need to run two weeks ago. It hasn’t affected her at all. It wasn’t a key target race – I think it’s so important you keep the team together when you can. He is a very important part of her and keeping her settled.”

Tackling the mile first up is the “perfect starting point” for Winx at this stage of her career according to Waller.

“Everything we have tried she has done with distinction whether it be 1100m in her first career start or right through to 2200m when she won the (Queensland) Oaks. She really is an amazing athlete,” he said.

“The hardest thing is waiting. From the Cox Plate you are already planning towards this preparation. Everything has gone to plan and we wouldn’t change anything in any way.

“She is a lot easier horse to train now than when she was four. With age she has matured and become strong. She copes with her racing and training better and is handling it better mentally. There are so many positive signs that she is just as well now as she has ever been. There’s certainly no signs of her training off or suggesting she doesn’t want to be a race horse.”

After Saturday’s assignment Winx will chase three straight George Ryder Stakes before a decision will be made on the remainder of her campaign but Waller reiterated that no international flights are booked yet.

Winx is $1.06 for the TAB Chipping Norton Stakes with TAB Fixeds Odds, the shortest price she has ever been posted.

“It is very similar to the way we were treating Black Caviar in that you almost knew she wasn’t going to get beaten,” TAB’s Andrew Georgiou said.

Check out all the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Royal Randwick meeting

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