Chris Waller says timing right for Winx to target Turnbull Stakes on way to Cox Plate

Source: Leo Schlink and Michael Manley /

MELBOURNE has nailed a massive Winx coup after Chris Waller revealed the champion mare’s next start is likely to be in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 7.

The probability of Winx competing at Flemington for the first time in her glorious career is a huge kick start for Melbourne’s carnival — only a week after the AFL Grand Final.

Winx’s three runs so far this campaign have drawn only meagre crowds in Sydney.

Huge crowds are certain to flock to Headquarters when the star mare returns to Victoria for the first time since her stunning record eight-length win in last year’s Cox Plate.

Waller cited programming issues for choosing Flemington over Sydney ahead of her historic tilt at a third successive Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 28.

Winx will attract a big crowd when she lines up in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 7. Picture: Ian Currie
Winx will attract a big crowd when she lines up in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 7. Picture: Ian Currie Source:News Corp Australia

“All bodes well heading towards the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate and after giving careful consideration to her current racing campaign it is likely her next run will be at Flemington on October 7 in the G1 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes,” Waller said.

“The sole reason for running here as the most likely option is simply based on the timing of the current program which will provide her with three weeks between runs from the George Main to the Turnbull and another three weeks into the Cox Plate for her fifth run of the campaign.

“Whilst this is her intended path, if she was not to run in the Turnbull it would be my intentions to run in the Craven Plate on October 14 at Royal Randwick before heading to Melbourne.”

Waller said he would remove ear muffs from Winx following her victory in the George Main Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

“I could not be happier with her recovery since the run and she continues to maintain her weight approximately 10kg heavier than what she was when winning the 2016 Cox Plate,” he said.

Waller said he would not pressured into making a decision on Winx’s long-term future until after the George Ryder Stakes in the autumn.

“As has always been the case, I will continue to be guided by the horse and what I feel is best for her when planning her racing preparations,” he said.

“I am very mindful of how well received she is each time she races, however her longevity is of the utmost importance and this is evident by the limited racing she does each preparation.

“To ease speculation on her future beyond 2017, I look forward to the autumn and a possible trip overseas but at this stage no decision on this will be made until after the George Ryder Stakes in 2018.

“During her 20-race winning streak, she has raced on two occasions in Brisbane, three occasions in Melbourne and 15 times in Sydney but obviously internationally racing possesses a great deal of appeal.

“Providing she is well she will either run during The Championships in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and look to target a race during the Royal Ascot carnival or be freshened up subsequent to the George Ryder Stakes and be targeted towards a European campaign containing three races over a range of distances.”