Chris Waller couldn’t be happier with Winx’s form as she bids for third Cox Plate win

Source: Lauren Wood, Herald Sun //

WINX is in “Grand Final week” and trainer Chris Waller couldn’t be more thrilled with his star mare as she prepares an assault on a third-straight Cox Plate.

The six-year-old — hunting her 22nd straight win this weekend — galloped on the Moonee Valley course proper this morning in front of a large Breakfast with the Best crowd, which was silenced as she turned and sped beautifully down the straight as the sun rose.


And Waller, who admitted there is pressure going into Saturday, described her as “an absolute professional” when it matters most.

“It was exactly what we wanted to see (ahead of Saturday),” he said.

“Most of her work is done now, of course. We’re into Grand Final week and just making sure that the team’s happy and everything’s going to plan.

“I couldn’t be any happier and my jockey Hugh Bowman is in the exact same feeling.

Breakfast with the best at Moonee Valley. Hugh Bowman on Winx at the Valley. Picture: Jay Town

“You can see it in the horse, and the team at home is very happy with the way that her preparation has gone. The beauty of Winx is she makes our job easier. She’s an absolute professional.

“What you see on race day is exactly what you see every day of the week with her and it’s an absolute privilege to be a part of her career.”

Waller said there is “a bit of confidence” going into the race, with Winx rated a $1.15 chance to defeat what is expected to be a small field.

But he knows better than to let that go to his head having been at the Valley in this week for the past few years.

Winx at Moonee Valley for a track gallop. Picture: Nicole Garmston

“The first year, there was no feeling — it was just amazing to have a horse in a Cox Plate, and it’s a great part of Australian history,” Waller said.

“To win the race was amazing and then to come back and try and defend the title was daunting.

“To think she could win two Cox Plates — not many horses have done that, and there was a real match race about to happen with Hartnell and other overseas horses.

“This year, now that she’s won that second Cox Plate, there’s more pressure there again. She’s going for history, trying to equal Kingston Town’s record.

“We know though she can do it — she can come back and repeat it. There’s a little bit of confidence, but in racing, you don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself.”

Her final opponents will be confirmed at 8am.

Waller, a self-confessed sporting enthusiast, said if he wasn’t feeling nervous himself, there’d be something amiss.

“It’s Grand Final racing. If you weren’t feeling the nerves and weren’t feeling the hive of activity, you shouldn’t be in the game,” he smiled.