Hugh Bowman to take punters through special Winx rehearsal at Randwick

Source: Chris Roots, SMH /

Champion jockey Hugh Bowman will be fitted with a microphone and a camera to talk punters through a special gallop, which is being called the Winx rehearsal at Randwick on February 17.

It was the day she had been scheduled to reappear in the group 2 Apollo Stakes, a race she has won for the past two years, but those plans changed because of Bowman being suspended. Instead, Chris Waller will be allowed to jump the champion mare out of the barriers in a 1200m race simulation with four stablemates and Bowman can ride as he is only not allow to ride in races.

It is an opportunity that has never be afforded to a horse or stable in Sydney in the past and shows the pulling power of Winx, which is on 22-race unbeaten run. It will also cause the meeting to pushed back a race and finish in the twilight at 6.20pm. “This is an interesting way to show the general public a behind the scenes aspect of Winx,” Waller said.

“It is obvious that people want to know more about her and it is hard to find new ways to be able to convey to people what she is like without repeating ourselves in the media or at the races.

“This will certainly give an insight into what goes towards preparing a horse for a big race.

“As we see in modern day sport, especially on the television whether it be the 20/20 cricket or motor car racing, and as early as this week, the Super Bowl, the general public want new initiatives and new ways to connect with the sports they follow, so I am certainly looking forward to being part of this initiative.”

Bowman, an outstanding horseman, is a brilliant communicator about horses and will bring the gallop to live as Winx goes around with Who Shot Thebarman, Libran, Mackintosh and McCreery as a preparation for her racing return in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on March 3.

All five horses would have been possible candidates for the Apollo Stakes on the same afternoon.

“ATC is pleased to be able to coordinate the Winx rehearsal which will undoubtedly attract global coverage as well as offering our on-course patrons an opportunity to once again enjoy the magnificent mare on a Sydney racetrack,” Australian Turf Club acting co-chief executive James Heddo said.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys believes the exhibition will give punters a different insight into the champion mare and those around her.

“Winx has captivated the imagination and heart of the Australian public for the past few years,” he said.

“Sports need charismatic champions that get everyone talking and have that ‘wow’ factor. Winx has it all in spades.

“(This) provides the racing public with the opportunity to see Winx step back on to the headquarters of racing in Australia, Royal Randwick Racecourse, in preparation for her assault on history.”