By Brad Gray At Royal Randwick
Chris Waller said to not read too much into it and Hugh Bowman suggested it was “meaningless” but it’s hard not to be buoyed by the sight of Winx winning a barrier trial for the first time in her career.
The star mare has reputation for saving her best for race day but after settling closer in the run, Winx quickened nicely to beat Pariah by near a length in a blanket finish that also included Happy Clapper and Invader.
“She was good in her action,” reported Bowman, “I asked her to do a bit more than I usually do. I usually do that at the trackwork at home leading up to her trials but this time we’ve been quieter with her. It’s her biggest hit out this preparation and should prepare her nicely for her first-up run.”
“She had a good blow this morning but it’s the first time I’ve asked her to extend off the bridal this time in and I remember the first time last preparation I asked her to stretch herself, she blew in a very similar manner.
“I feel she is stronger than last preparation but is she better? It’s hard to judge. For this stage of the preparation she is certainly more focused and switched on. Usually in her first two runs she is quite lethargic about everything and wanders around talking it all in her stride then as her fitness levels increase she really starts to jump out of her skin.
“This preparation she is a little more like that early days. She knows what she is here for and is a very competitive individual as we all know.”
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) August 7, 2017
Winx, who will kick off her spring campaign in the Group Two Warwick Stakes on August 19, has a remarkable will to win according to Waller which is what separates her from the rest.
“For whatever reason, she seems to be able to get herself out of trouble. She has almost fallen on a couple of occasions yet still managed to win and normally with a bit of ease,” Waller said.
“I was happy with her winning the trial. I guess it is unusual for her. Both Hughie and I thought she was doing a little bit too well at this stage of her preparation and needed a stronger hit out than normal. She is just that little bit heavier than she normally is so with today’s trial, she is right on track.
“She is a horse that gets a bit fresh so this will just take the edge off her ahead of the Warwick Stakes where she’ll be in picture perfect order.
“She is a bit of a show pony but that’s why we keep the earmuffs on her to keep her nice and relaxed.”
She might now be a six-year-old but Waller is confident that the daughter of Street Cry hasn’t lost any of her zest for racing.
“Her body language seems identical. She is not getting sour and still seems happy in her job, just enjoying stable life. She is certainly a very happy horse,” Waller said.
“We realise the level of the responsibility we’ve got. She’s a house hold name and we’ve got to make sure she finishes her career in the same way.”