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Waller Says Winx 'Could Be Better Than Ever'

By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens

The air of invincibility that cloaks Winx as she paraded in front of the media was as evident as ever after the champion mare put in a stunning piece of work at Rosehill Gardens early on Thursday morning.

Her casual strut, the long pauses to take everything in. The sparkle in Hugh Bowman’s eye. The way Chris Waller is talking about how well she has come up.

“There’s a chance, there’s a chance that she could be better than ever,” said Waller

“It’s almost impossible for a horse to get better than Winx but there's a chance. I think there’s more chance of her improving than going backwards.”

Winx working at Rosehill, with Unforgotten the second horse:

That would send a shudder down the spine of her 10 rivals. The now seven-year-old chases 26 straight wins in Saturday’s $500,000 Group One Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick, which would surpass the winning streak of Black Caviar. It’d also be her 19th Group One.

Waller says it’s all been smooth sailing to this point, but you get the impression “smooth” doesn’t really do it justice. Her enormous engine is purring.

“What Winx has shown in her latest 25 wins is a bit of authority and we don’t think she has dropped back at all. It will take a very good one to beat her,” he said.

“Since the 1st of January she has only raced three times, I think that’s a big help towards her longevity and seeing her in such great shape.

“She has been aimed towards this race since winning the Queen Elizabeth back in the autumn. She has got such great speed, a high-cruising speed. The best thing about Winx is she performs under high pressure and can sustain it for a lot longer. I think 1400m first up is the perfect distance.”

Champion mare Winx (Pic: Steve Hart)

It was in this race last year, when the Warwick Stakes, where Winx flopped out of the gates before rattling home her last 600m in a scintillating 31.98s. Bowman has no concerns of history repeating.

“She seems to be a much more mature individual now and she still seems to get a bit anxious in there, there is no doubt about it, but I’m confident we won’t have a repeat of last year,” Bowman said.

“When I watch the replay I get a little bit more agitated than I did actually riding in the race. She is in much better order this year mentally. I’ve said it before, I wasn’t all that happy with her behaviour leading into that run. She was playing up in the barriers in her trials and we saw what happened.

“This is short of her best distance and 1400m is probably her most vulnerable distance, or will be for this preparation, and the reason for that is she likes to go through her gears. The 1400m is more of a sprint distance so she doesn’t have time to settle in the early stages and build like she does in the races over further.

“It’s a little bit more tactical for us but she has drawn beautifully in barrier 5, which is an ideal draw, and there are some nice horses that have drawn around me that I might be able to follow into the race or if I’m forward in the field they can follow me.”

Bowman will just ride the race as it plays out in front of him, knowing he is on the best horse in the world.

“She knows its game day and judging on the way she felt this morning, I’m pretty excited at what lies ahead. She felt great, and as strong as ever. I can’t wait until the race to be honest,” Bowman said, with his own flicker of invincibility.

Winx is priced $1.12 with TAB Fixed Odds to take out the Winx Stakes.

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

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