Hunted Winx Chases 20 Straight

Source: Brad Gray, Racing NSW /

The target on Winx’s back appears to be growing bigger but ahead of Saturday’s $500,000 Group One Colgate Optic White Stakes (1600m) at Rosehill Gardens, Hugh Bowman is reluctant to buy into the hype.

“I don’t think they are reinventing the wheel to try and beat her. Red Excitement the other day, they rode the horse to his strengths. Everyone is out there to win but I don’t think rival connections are trying to bring her demise,” said Bowman. “It was a credit to Josh Parr and the horse to run the race they did. It was a really interesting race and one I had to think about a lot more than usual because of the way it was run. They are throwing everything at us.

“Red Excitement had quite a break on us but when she spotted that horse in front we motored and his run was probably ending as he had made a sustained gallop from the 1000m mark. Not even Winx can go all day. No horse can run forever.

“Her will to win is not something that I feel as much as others might see because quite often she has the job done midway down the straight but it was very noticeable for me last start. When she saw Red Excitement out in front I could feel her will to win and tenacity to be first past the post and for me that was very special.”

Bowman expects another genuinely run race with Red Excitement mapping to have Ecuador for company out in front but will as Winx’s versatility allows, Bowman, from barrier 1, will again let the race unfold in front of him.

“I’m aware at what might happen but I’m not too concerned at this stage. First things, first and we’ll see how the track is playing. It’s impossible for me to predict a pattern here this morning. If I need to ride a race to suit the pattern of the day, then so be it but I won’t be trying to pre-empt anything yet,” Bowman said.

“She seems to be more relaxed to me now as we get into the middle of her preparation which is encouraging.
“As we get deeper into the preparation it’s a bit easier to cope with the expectation and I get to understand where she is at too. She relaxes and I relax.”

The champion mare, who was actually born on this day in 2011, produced another stylish piece of work in the early hours of Tuesday morning which pleased Chris Waller, who also echoed Bowman’s thoughts on Winx being targeted.

“My only concern this morning was that she could have gone too fast. She is very well and very bright. I stressed to Hugh not to go too quick. It was perfect. She had a nice gallop on Saturday, and then a solid gallop on Tuesday and an easy piece of work this morning,” Waller said.

“I don’t think there is anyone that purposely tear a race apart to make things hard but you’ve got to respect other jockeys, trainers and owners giving instructions to ride their horses to the best of their abilities. Everybody is trying to win and I respect that. It was just a little more noticeable last start.

“What we are all learning is regardless of the situation is that she is equally effective and that Winx is who she is. She is not unstoppable but she is a very good race horse.”

Full Bowman and Waller interview: