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Winx's 'Unique Engine' Purring Ahead Of Chelmsford

By Brad Gray At Rosehill Gardens

Winx chases 19 straight victories in the $250,000 Group Two Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday and after cruising through her final serious gallop on Thursday morning, both Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman offered further insight into what makes the champion mare so far superior to her rivals.

“She just covers the ground so quickly so I guess the simple answer is that she is fast. What makes her fast? Well, her legs move faster than anything else,” Waller said with a laugh.

“It’s been well documented that she doesn’t have a long, exuberant stride but she just gets the job done and moves very quickly. We see that in her races from the 400m to the 200m mark, where she just has amazing acceleration.

“Hugh Bowman said after the (Warwick Stakes) that it’s the first time we’ve had her up to top speed so it was good to see she can runoff amazing sectional times. Although it was wind assisted, I don’t think I’ve ever had a horse go that fast.”

Bowman added, “With Winx, she can push other horses to their top gear well before she is in her top gear and that’s why she tends to put a big space on her rivals early or midway down the straight because the opposition are already red lining.”

“The engine in her is unique but her manners are that of most good horses. She is very sensible, straight forward and she knows her job. Most top line thoroughbreds behave in that sort of manner.”

Winx has been well accustomed to the Thursday morning media calls before her races and again didn’t turn a hair as cameras flashed and cameras rolled upon her return to the mounting yard. What is also remarkable about the daughter of Street Cry is her instant recovery. Regardless of where she is in her preparation, by the time she has made her way back to the yard, she is a picture of calm and wouldn’t blow out a candle.

“She had a pretty firm gallop here on Tuesday morning," Bowman reported, "Probably the firmest gallop we have given her, with the exception of her second trial, and she has come through it in flying colours. She showed this morning that she’s ready to go for Saturday."

“I felt she came through the run, (given) her mannerisms immediately after the race, more comfortable than what she did first up last prep.

“She has relaxed a little bit in her demeanour since. She was quite full of herself jumping around but I feel a bit of that nervous energy has left her body.”

More eyes than usual will be on Winx in the barriers on Saturday, after she sensationally missed the kick in the Warwick Stakes, but besides the addition of ear muffs to her racing gear, it’ll be business as usual for the typically unflappable Bowman.

“The only time I’m nervous when I’m on her back is in the barriers because she does have the tendency to be a little bit anxious and although the timing was most inappropriate last start we are hoping that it won’t happen again,” Bowman said.

“It’s just a case of Winx being Winx and we’re aware of it and always have been. She knows its game time. She is obviously very intelligent so just wants to get on with the job. The best thing I can do is stay relaxed myself and not get too carried away with what we saw last start.

“She wears (ear muffs) all the time. It just dulls the sound. They are sensitive creatures and react to sound. The idea is to help her stay a little more relaxed.

“She’s a champion and overcomes adversity but hopefully she doesn’t have to do it again.”

Waller, who saw Winx crash through the $13m prize money mark at her latest outing, is similarly unfazed heading into Saturday, putting the situation into perspective.

“In her career, including races and trials, she has probably been to the barriers about 40 times. She does get playful in the gates but she has only missed the start once to that degree,” Waller said.

“We’re just going to take one run at a time. Obviously the Cox Plate is her grand final. The George Main is definitely her first Group One target of the season and beyond that we’re yet to work out. She’ll tell us.”

Interviews in full:

Check out the replays, form and fields for Royal Randwick on Saturday

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